Store Owner Warns of Scam

BRUNSWICK COUNTY -- A furniture store owner is out thousands of dollars, with little hope of getting it back.

Now she's warning others about the complicated and sophisticated scam that trapped her.

Jackie Breeden has run Jackie's Interiors in Ocean Isle Beach for 13 years. She says she's always trusted her customers. But now, she'll be a little less trusting.

In April, she got a call from a relay operator calling on behalf of a hearing impaired woman. The woman made special orders for dining room sets to be delivered to a ministry in Alaska.

Breeden took the credit card numbers for the purchase, ordered the furniture and sent money to a shipping company so the tables and chairs would get to Alaska.

The shipper is based in Africa and was in on the scam. When the cards came back as stolen, Breeden was out thousands.

She says she feels worse than she would have if thieves had broken in and taken the furniture. But she says after she learned she was being ripped off, she collected some credit card numbers to protect others.

Police haven't been able to find out much about the scammers, other than discovering fake names and addresses, Breeden said.

But she hopes other business owners don't let their trust turn into trouble.

Reported by Joe Keiley