One of the infuriating aspects of tracking scams is how little it seems can be done against the wrong actors. Most of the time, scammers operate across the world, away from local law enforcement jurisdictions or even government agencies to which these incidents are reported.
This often means that all of the push in this column is placed on consumers to learn how to avoid scams, rather than how law enforcement can actually crack down on them.
But this week we have a rare case where a locally reported scam actually led to a local arrest. Two weeks ago, I reported in this column about a fraud alert sent to members of the Oregon State Credit Union, warning against fraudsters posing as employees of a local branch in order to extract people’s financial information.
Well, a man from Beaverton has just been sentenced to four years in federal prison as part of this same sort of scheme, which took place in March and April 2020. Winston Gray, 31, was sentenced by a court federal government this week for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, after an investigation revealed that he used false phone messages and calls to members of credit unions in which he was posing as an employee in order to defraud them by about $ 60,000.
Gray used the information he obtained from the members to set up bogus debit and credit cards, which he then used to purchase various consumer goods, court documents show.