DARIEN, Conn. -- A Darien photographer was scammed out of nearly $2,000 by someone claiming they wanted to hire him for a photo shoot, according to police.
The man had been flying a drone with a friend in Greenwich in early June when they were approached by another man asking about the drone. During their conversation, the complainant mentioned that he was a photographer, and the other man mentioned that he owned a production company in New York City and was looking for production assistants. The photographer gave him his card, and the man said his assistant Meg would be contacting him.
On June 24, the complainant received a text from someone identifying herself as Megan O'Neill. She said she worked for Elle Magazine and she wanted to hire him for a photo shoot in New Orleans. The two exchanged several emails, some of which were requests for personal information from the complainant, police said.
At one point, the person impersonating O'Neill told the complainant that they would send him a check for $1,980, and that $1,550 would be sent on to a travel agent and the remaining funds would be the photographer's down payment. After the check arrived, the complainant said the person impersonating O'Neill would constantly text him, asking if the check was deposited. He deposited it about a week after he received it.
On July 7, the photographer was contacted again by O'Neill, who asked him to withdraw the $1,550 as cash and deposit it into a Bank of America account, which he did at a branch in Norwalk. The person claiming to be O'Neill asked the complainant to send a receipt of the transaction, police said.
On July 9, he was contacted again and told there was a miscalculation in payment, police said. He was asked to "MoneyGram" $300 to a person in Indiana, and didn't think there was anything suspicious about it. Afterwards he sent a receipt of the transaction to the person claiming to be O'Neill, and stopped receiving any response from her.
When he stopped to get gas on July 12, he realized his bank card was not working. He checked the amount, at which point he discovered that the check sent by the person impersonating O'Neill had bounced and he was $1,800 in debt.
Police tried to get in touch with the people with whom the complainant interacted, but were unsuccessful. The investigation into the incident is ongoing, police said.
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