Dallas Tavern Guild official’s friends get calls from impostor asking for money to be wired to Montreal
Friends of Dallas Tavern Guild executive director Michael Dough-man were targeted this week by con artists who used collect calls to try and get their victims to wire money to them in Montreal.
Doughman, who has been in Montreal attending the World Outgames, said in a telephone conversation this week he does not believe any of his friends were taken in by the scam.
“Apparently, he called a lot of people. But word got around very quickly,” Doughman said.
Leo Cusimano, president of the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday he had heard reports that someone had tried a similar scam using the name of an official with the National GLBT Chamber of Commerce who was also in Montreal for the Outgames.
Doughman said that someone had made collect calls to several Tavern Guild members, having the operator identify the calls as coming from Doughman.
When the calls were accepted, the caller identified himself as Doughman, said he had been robbed in Montreal and asked the person to wire money to him there.
When one person questioned the caller on why he did not sound like Doughman, the man told him he had been beaten up and his nose had been broken, affecting his voice. The potential victim, however, did not fall for the ruse.
Another potential victim cornered the scammer by asking a question to which Doughman would have known the answer.
Doughman said Wednesday he believes the calls were “totally random” and were not connected in any way to the Outgames or to the GLBT community.
“Someone has tried to use my name in this same exact scam several years ago, when I was traveling a lot on business,” Doughman said.
Doughman said he has seen a television report on this type of scam, explaining how scammers will collect a database of e-mails and “send out test messages just every so often. When they get an auto-response in reply saying that person is out of town, they try their scam.”
A spokeswoman with the FBI office in Dallas said Wednesday that the agency is familiar with wire fraud scams originating in Canada but had never heard of this one. She said such scams should be reported to the FBI.
The FBI office in Dallas can be reached at 972-559-5000.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, August 4, 2006.