Lubbock Business Caught in the Middle of Credit Card Scam, Warns Others to Watch Out

LUBBOCK, TEXAS - A Lubbock business owner is now warning others after he accidentally became part of an international credit card scam. He said he had no clue what was happening until he got a call from the bank. 

"I had no idea what was going on. I'm thinking this is a normal bid. Next thing you know, all this stuff starts going on," said Sergio Zapata Jr. 

Zapata thought he was helping out someone in need, but it turns out he was actually being used as a middle man in a huge credit card scam.

It all started when Zapata got a phone call asking for a bid from his business. He owns True Landscaping, and the caller asked for a bid for a tree removal service. At first, it all seemed legitimate. But then, the caller asked him to transfer money into someone else's bank account for him.

"Next thing you know, this guy starts telling me a story. He said he had cancer. I had a big heart about that. I have a big heart," said Zapata. 

He said that the caller told him he was in the hospital and owed some people money. He told Zapata he could not wire the money himself because he was too sick and needed Zapata's help.

"He starts telling me to pay off the ex-owner, I have cancer, I'm in the hospital," said Zapata. "My cousin passed away from cancer a couple of years ago. I wasn't thinking nothing of it. He was like, 'Hey, can you wire this money to this person?' and I said, 'Yeah, no problem. But, I'm not going to do this, only a couple more times. I don't feel comfortable doing this.'"

Here's how the scam worked: The scammer would transfer money from stolen credit cards to Zapata. Then Zapata would transfer that money into the scammer's accounts. By using a middle man, it made the transfers seem more legitimate. Zapata ended up transferring thousands of dollars, all from stolen credit cards. 

Now he wants to warn other businesses to be extra cautious.

"It made me feel bad. I'm an honest person, I'm a hard-working guy. I had no idea, and once I figured out what was going on, I got the cops involved because I've never been in trouble in my life, so why be in trouble for something stupid?"

According to the Lubbock Police Department, the scam seemed to have originated in a different country. Through their investigation, LPD seized the possible stolen money from the accounts involved. Although thousands of dollars were transferred, less than $2,000 was seized.

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