KSL Investigator Matt Gephardt’s Name Used In Email Scam
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Hey! That’s me!
I’ve reported on scammers and their flimflams for years, but this is the first time the scumbags have ever used my name to try and rip people off.
Identity thieves have been known to impersonate the Internal Revenue Service. They’ve posed as cops and courts to try to strong-arm unsuspecting victims into sending money.
It seems these criminals will also impersonate far less important people.
Many people got an email from none other than me on Tuesday. It is signed, “Matt Gephardt, KSL investigative reporter.”
That’s me, but I can tell you, I didn’t send it. I can also tell you it was received by folks all over the country, based on the phone calls and emails I have received.
Many of those who received the email I don’t know. Some I do, including a few of my colleagues at KSL.
KSL anchor Ashley Kewish got the email.
“I got an email from ‘Matt’ today, saying that it’s super important and to write back as soon as I can,” she said.
Kewish knew it was a scam. For one thing, when she and I communicate, we usually text or call.
“I wrote back and I said, ‘Okay. If this is really Matt, send me a selfie with you holding up three fingers,’” she said.
The scammer, of course, couldn’t do that – nor was he or she able to talk on the phone. I was at my sick mother’s hospital bedside, the scammer lied, unable to take a call.
The crook spoofed their Gmail address to make it LOOK like it was coming from me.
KSL anchor Lori Prichard also got the email and played along. She received an email back asking that she go buy a bunch of gift cards to send to the impersonator.
“It’s not unusual for those of us at KSL to help one another out,” she said. “What was unusual was how quickly it went from being almost work related to personal.”
The email went out beyond Salt Lake City’s KSL employees, based on those who reached out to me to report receiving it.
A radio station program director in Seattle got it, as did a North Salt Lake car body shop.
Identity theft is certainly nothing new. Impersonator scams were the number one scam in the US last year, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
In February, FBI Special Agent Jeffery Collins told me folks need to be on their guard, because crooks love to use relationships to social engineer their victims.
“That person who you believe is located here, locally, may be a fraudster located overseas or somewhere else trying to trick you,” he said.
Who is the scammer? It’s hard to say. Collins said most operate overseas, typically in West Africa, out of the reach of American law enforcement.
The identity thief did not respond to an email from me, the real Matt Gephardt.
I have reported the fraud to the FBI in the hopes of getting the scammer’s email address shut down.
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