By Brecken Branstrator
Knox County, Tenn.—Four suspects have been arrested by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office in connection with a diamond ordering and shipping fraud scheme.

According to the police, a Tennessee retail jeweler got a call from a diamond firm saying they had received an order from the jeweler for $150,000 in diamonds and the package was on its way, but the retailer said he had never placed such an order.

After realizing it was a scam, the owner of the store alerted an off-duty cop with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. Detectives were then able to figure out which shipping company was handling the diamond shipment and set up a surveillance at said company’s pick-up area.

A suspect came to retrieve the package shipped by the diamond firm and was arrested. Three other suspects were later arrested elsewhere.

According to the Jewelers Security Alliance, the group allegedly used the retail jeweler’s information to place a false order from the diamond firm; they also are suspected of allegedly using the scam in a number of other order frauds in the Southeast.

The suspects have been identified as Corey Smith, 31; Octavia Nashae Smith, 21; Ariana Moshae Jenkins, 21; and Quintaisha Torshe Sullivan, 21.

They have been charged with computer crime over $60,000, identify theft and attempted theft over $60,000. The sherriff’s office said more charges could come as the investigation continues.

A Sept. 20 email alert sent out by the JSA made the following recommendations.

1. Confirm to whom you are talking during transactions or who an email or text is from. Don’t hesitate to call a business back after the order or request is made to confirm it is legitimate, but don’t use the number given by the caller or in the email or text—rather, call the actual number of the store obtained through company records or other reliable sources.

2. Don’t give out tracking numbers for shipments as they can be used by criminals to divert shipped merchandise to an address of their choice.

3. Beware of calls from blocked or “unknown” numbers.

4. Don’t give out information to callers asking about personnel or procedures, and remind all employees to do the same; scammers will want to know as much as they can about the business so they can sound legitimate.

5. Strictly limit procedures allowing changes of address on shipments. Some firms have only one person who can authorize a change of address or have specified to shipping companies that all attempts at changes of address should instead be returned to the firm. Notify the recipient about instructions concerning change of address.

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