Southwest Missouri man falls prey to scammers

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SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — A Southwest Missouri farmer loses thousands of dollars after thieves target him in a social security number scam.

It started with a phone call – and a claim that John McDowell was in big trouble.

It focused on his social security number being tied to a fake case of money laundering.

John McDowell, Scam Victim, said, “What we want to do first is get some of your money secured because they have a possibility of getting your bank account.”

The caller convinced John McDowell of Greenfield he wanted to help him, get a new social security number and protect his assets.

“So he directed me to go to my bank, draw out 10,000 dollars cash, which I did. Then he wanted me to go to Walmart and buy 500 dollar gift cards.”

Which McDowell did and immediately turned them over to the scammer.

“He said you’ve got to give me the numbers off the card so we have evidence to turn in at when we make your case in Texas.”

The caller told him to do it all again at another bank.

But just a few miles down the road, something didn’t feel right prompting McDowell to call his banker.

“Told him what was going on and he said that’s a scam John. They’re trying to get your money – he said go back to Walmart and see if you can stop it.”

It was just 20 minutes later but that was 20 minutes too late.

“They’d already got all the money except $39 on one card.”

“He made me believe everything he said.”

He reported the crime to police and also the Federal Trade Commission, which has reports of similar scams from 63,000 victims.

McDowell doesn’t expect to get any of his money back.

He’s hoping by sharing his story, that he’ll help keep someone else from falling victim to the same scam.

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