Update 11/1/2022: This scam is making its rounds again, and this time the scammers are using a photo of someone carrying a pool pump. /facepalm
HAGERSTOWN, MD News (9/24/2022) – Small towns across the country are being plagued with catalytic converter thefts. Many posts are floating around social media such as Facebook and Reddit calling out a man holding a battery powered saw as being the culprit. However, this is in fact part of a different theft – identity theft.
The way this scam works, is that someone posts in a public location this photo, claiming the man is locally stealing catalytic converters. Of course, wanting to be helpful and get back at the thief, local residents start sharing the photo. In some variations, the thief’s photo has been altered.
Once the post has enough shares, the entire post is swapped out with a completely different post, offering a “rent to own” home at a too good to be true price.
Of course, the house doesn’t actually exist, and the application link asks for information typically required when applying for an apartment or bank loan, possibly even requiring credit card information and a deposit. Not only will any funds be stolen, but so will the victim’s identity, possibly being used for all sorts of identity theft.
Residents who believe they may have been scammed should immediately contact their credit or bank card provider and request a stop on the payment. Additionally, those who believe they may be victims of identity theft can report the identity theft and get a plan for next steps through IdentityTheft.gov.