Scam hits Valley Bed and Breakfasts

By: Lauren McKay
By: Lauren McKay

A Valley bed and breakfast is thanking its local bank for discovering a scam that could have cost it thousands of dollars. This isn't the first local tourism spot that's been the target of this scam; it's a scam that's already hit bed and breakfasts in Winchester, Woodstock, and now Page County. The FBI says the scam is also prying on local real estate agencies who have rentals. Barbara Espenhorst was contacted by e-mail about a month ago by a Sheik in Kuwait. He wanted to send his son and his son's new bride to a bed and breakfast cabin in Page County for their honeymoon. After a three week correspondence with Binsheik Al Omar, Barbara and he agreed on a price. "He said he was sending me a cashier's check, but he was going to add an additional sum because I needed to make an electronic bank transfer to a Global Travel Agency that was handling their flight arrangements," says Owner Barbara Espenhorst. Once Barbara got the check in the mail her husband took it to the bank to make the transfer. Sandy Turner at the Greater Atlantic Bank noticed the check was from JP Morgan out of Buffalo, New York. A bank she found out doesn't exist, so she examined the check further. "It's not visible to the naked eye but it said 'void,' so she told my husband that we needed to contact the FBI," says Espenhorst. The FBI who told Barbara she's not the first and won't be the last. "Virginia really is for lovers and I thought isn't this nice, a honeymoon couple from Kuwait," says Espenhorst. Barbara says 80 percent of her business is done on the internet. If you suspect you've been the victim of a scam, contact your local police who will then contact the FBI.


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