Police are investigating after the mother of a 15-year-old girl discovered her daughter purchased $150 of online items with a credit card number that was advertised on a website and appears to be an online scam, Lacy Lakeview Police Chief John Truehitt said.

The teenager's mother went to the Lacy Lakeview Police Department Wednesday evening after noticing $150 worth of items while monitoring her daughter's online activity. Truehitt said the girl told police she visited a website that gave out credit card information, including numbers, expiration date and a security code to online visitors.

"The girl said she didn't believe it would work, but for some reason, it did," Truehitt said.

The mother notified police who began looking into the website. Truehitt said several credit card numbers and information are advertised to visitors at no cost, but it was unclear where the credit card information came from or who is the actual card holder.

"We don't know who is making money off of this, but someone has to be benefiting off this," Truehitt said. "We don't know if banks will recognize this as a fraudulent charge and we don't know who our victim is at this point, but this mother did the right thing in coming forward with this."

"The Ponzi scheme has always been out there for years and years, but generally scams are pretty recognizable. This one is almost off the charts and we've never heard of anything like this, so it's very unusual."

Truehitt reminded residents of the adage "if it's too good to be true, it probably is." He said no one should give out their credit card information online unless it is a secure, reputable website. Customers should make sure they are purchasing items online from a reputable company with security protocols, and check businesses through the Better Business Bureau's website.

For more security online tips, visit www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/on-the-internet .

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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