Rock Rapids, Iowa — Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep of Lyon County says it doesn’t happen very often, but they’ve arrested someone who they believe scammed a Lyon County resident through Facebook in March.
Many Facebook users know that sometimes they get friend requests from people who they’re already friends with on Facebook, and that these often turn out to be scams. Vander Stoep says this was a similar situation. He says the victim received a message that they believed was from a relative in the area. The message said that the victim’s name was on a list of people who qualified for a grant, and all the victim had to do was pay a fee. The Sheriff says that the victim decided to try to get the grant, and when it came to paying the fees, the scammer allegedly told the victim to wire the money to him through Walmart.
He says the victim actually sent the money but eventually realized they had been scammed and called the Sheriff’s Office, where they started looking into the circumstances surrounding the crime. He says the receiving Walmart was in Paris, Texas. He says they contacted the Paris, Texas Police Department, and their officers were able to find video footage at Walmart of the alleged scammer picking up the money. He says by matching the timestamp on video to the time of the crime, they were able to issue a warrant for an arrest, and the Paris Police Department was able to apprehend 18-year-old Wayne Willey of Paris in connection with the crime.
Vander Stoep says Lyon County authorities traveled to Texas to pick up Willey this past weekend. He has been charged with theft in the 2nd degree, a class D Felony.
Willey is currently being held at the Lyon County Jail on a $8,000 cash-only bond.
Sheriff Vander Stoep says he knows that people hear this all the time, but he reminds people that if anybody’s contacting you asking for money to be put on an iTunes card, a gift card, a money order, or through Western Union, it’s probably a scam. He also says he wants to thank the Paris, Texas Police Department. He says without their work, they couldn’t have made this arrest.