Man smells a scam when school sends him check for beer sign

PORTLAND, Ore. - A disabled Iraq War veteran sounded the alarm after he realized a Portland high school's good name is being used to pull off a scam all across the country.

Craig Hogue, who was injured by an improvised explosive device, knew something was wrong when he decided to sell his large electric Budweiser sign on Craigslist.

He got a check in the mail from Portland Christian High School.

It turned out he was not the only one who was suspicious.

Portland Christian High School has heard from people in 23 states that someone is running a scam with its bank account. People have tried to cash bogus checks worth thousands.

According to the school, troubles started about two weeks ago. It began getting about two calls a day, which has grown to four to six from people wondering why the private school was cruising Craigslist for deals.

"The item I was selling on Craigslist was only $60, and they sent me a check for $980," Hogue said. "They wanted me to send the difference."

The school said it has heard from its bank about people trying to cash checks ranging from $1,200 to $4,800. Fortunately, the bank caught them in time and the school hasn't lost any money.

Hogue is concerned others will bend to the angry emails the scammers sent him.

"I'm totally disappointed with your attitude. It's two days since the payment has been delivered. I hope you do not intend to steal from me by keeping mute," he read from one.

The emails are written in poor English. These types of scams are usually done by people overseas. The school doesn't know how the scammers got its bank account information.

We began investigating this story because of a news tip. If there's something you think needs our attention, let us know. Email us at Your email goes straight to our newsroom.