Police warn of Internet dating scheme

by: Mike Petchenik Updated:

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SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. - Sandy Springs police are putting out a warning for people who use popular dating web sites after a woman met a man on the site and ended up a scam victim.

Police say the 53-year-old met a would-be suitor on the web site Christianmingle.com. According to an incident report obtained by Channel 2's Mike Petchenik, the victim and suspect corresponded on the website starting in June, then began chatting on Facebook, via email and by phone.

According to the incident report, the woman told police she fell in love with the man, who told her his name was Jackson Hutchinson and that he was a traveling salesman from Seattle.

"At some point during the course of the relationship, she was asked to deposit some money from the west coast into her account," said Cpt. Keith Zgonc of the Sandy Springs Police Department.

Police were notified last week after McCormick's bank account saw a $20,000 fraudulent deposit. Investigators said the suspect asked McCormick to wire $4,500 to supposed "suppliers," which she attempted to do.

"We're potentially looking for someone who's operating out of state, using false information," said Zgonc. "Most likely using a false name."

Police said using a dating website to find victims is a new twist on a fairly old scheme.

"Typically these cases involve a phone call, an email job offer or a letter in the mail," said Zgonc, who added that anytime anyone asks you to deposit money into your account for doing no work, it should raise red flags.

By phone, the victim, who asked not to be identified, told Petchenik she was still in shock over what happened and was "devastated" by everything.