Sophisticated email scam hijacks Omaha-metro business reputation

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 10:31 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A warning about a sophisticated scam that hijacked the reputation of a respected Omaha-metro business in an attempt to fool a customer.

The crew wears hats but Weatherguard only starts a roofing job after the homeowner gets all caps.

“When we send the estimate out, we want to make sure the first thing the customer sees is that we do not require any money down,” said Trent Lovewell.

But requesting a second email copy, homeowner Herb Freeman said by phone a line had been added.

“The second copy of the proposal said that the vendor needed 50% down to buy materials and the money needed to be wired.”

Weatherguard Vice President Trent Lovewell sees that both estimates he emailed are the same except scammers intercepted the second one and added the half down deposit via wire transfer then sent it on to the homeowner.

“Something that’s this large and this amount of money it’s very scary, somebody could be fooled and send thousands and thousands of dollars to somebody that’s not related to the company at all,” said Lovewell.

The homeowner checked with Trent and he learned the scammers, not the company changed the terms. Here’s how far the scammer would go to fool the customer into paying 50% down even though the company didn’t ask for it.

At normal computer reading depth, it looks like the email comes from a dot com. But taking a closer look at the email address and it says dot corn.

The r and n look like an m.

“They changed my email to Trent@rooferees.corn and if you glance at it, it looks like dot com. Thank goodness the customer caught it because we didn’t get the email, he did,” said Lovewell.

The scammers didn’t say where to wire the deposit money. That likely would have been revealed if the customers replied to the phony bid proposal.

The scam has been reported and the company email is being debugged. People can report scams online and they call can the FBI Omaha Operation Center at 402-493-8688.

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