Scammer takes Douglasville business owner for thousands

A Douglasville woman is sharing her cautionary tale about how convincing some scams can be.

The seemingly legitimate caller ID and an altered money memo ultimately fooled Kimberly Melson, who knows her Bank of America number by heart and has since the age of 18.

The longtime customer uses the bank for her Douglasville business, Kimberlite Events. So, when the number came up on her caller ID while she was on the phone, she immediately got off the other call because she believed it was important.

A young man on the line told her there was fraudulent activity on her business account and asked her to verify information.

"He said there was an issue with the banking account weeks ago, which there was, which made me comfortable to continue speaking with him," she said.

He then told her someone was stealing thousands in real-time through Zelle and the only way to stop it was to allow a case manager to further investigate.

He asked her to confirm the phone number associated with her Zelle.

"I said it’s my email address, not my phone number," she said.

She slipped. She said the email address, and that’s what they used to request $3,500.

However, the Zelle memo does not say "request," it says "cancellation" and "case number." Words Melson thought made the exchange legitimate. So she accepted the memo.

At the same time, Bank of America really did text her, notifying her of a transaction, but because the scammers instilled fear and urgency, Melson thought this further legitimized the experience.

That process happened twice more before Melson asked to speak to a manager and realized it was all a scam. Now, Douglasville Police are investigating.

As for that convincing, yet phony, phone number, scammers have found ways to look more legitimate by changing their caller ID to look like the exact phone number for a business you recognize. It’s called spoofing.