Darien photographer out $1,800 after check scam
Updated 12:33 pm, Thursday, July 20, 2017
Editor’s note: Updated July 20 with further information.
DARIEN — A Darien man’s bank account was drained after he was scammed by a woman claiming to hire him for a photo shoot.
In early June, the victim was flying his drone in Greenwich with a friend when a man approached him and began asking about the drone. The man mentioned he was a photographer and was looking for production assistants for the production company he owned in New York City. The victim gave the man his business card and the man said his assistant, “Meg,” would contact him about working together,
On June 24, the assistant — claiming to be Elle Magazine Editor Megan O’Neill — texted the victim, saying she wanted to hire the victim as a photographer for an upcoming photo shoot in New Orleans. A spokesperson for Elle said the person texting the victim was not the real Megan O’Neill, who is a senior beauty and fitness editor for the magazine.
The victim exchanged several emails with “O’Neill,” who asked for some personal information, needed to hire the victim.
On June 29, the victim received an email saying he’d been sent a check for $1,980, which he deposited in his account about a week later.
On July 7, “O’Neill” reached out to the victim, asking him to withdraw $1,550 to be sent to the travel agent and that the rest of the money was his. The Darien man did as instructed, transferring the money to an account at Bank of America. The woman posing as O’Neill asked the victim to send a receipt of the transaction. Two days later, “O’Neill” contacted the victim again, saying there was a miscalculation with the payment. She asked him to send $300 to a person in Indiana via a Moneygram transfer. The victim said it was a Sunday and the banks were closed, so he didn’t find anything suspicious about the request. He did as “O’Neill” asked and sent her a receipt of the transaction.
After sending “O’Neill” the receipt, the victim did not hear from her any further. Around 1 a.m. on July 12, the victim stopped to get gas and realized his bank card wasn’t working. He checked his account and found the check “O’Neill” sent had bounced and he was $1,800 in debt.
The victim reported the scam to police on July 13. Officers attempted to contact the person pretending to be “O’Neill” but couldn’t reach her. The detective division is actively investigating this case.