Grady County schools receive $52,000 in laptops ordered by scammer


Chris Guest, the IT professional who manages computers for Grady County Schools, knew something was up when 20 boxes from Dell showed up at Cairo High School–each box contained a much fancier laptop than what the school system normally purchases.

Here’s how the Cairo Messenger told the story:

Cairo High School received an unexpected delivery of $52,000 worth of high-end laptop computers Thursday, but they were no gift from an anonymous donor.

As it turns out, they were likely part of an elaborate scheme by an unidentified crook hoping to get his hands on the laptops without paying anything.

‘It looks to me like it’s a scam,” says Chris Guest, director of technology for Grady County Schools.

After the 20 boxes were brought to the high school, no one there could determine which teacher or administrator should take possession of the bulky delivery. The label said they were for Chris Guest at Cairo High School. Guest’s office is at a different address.

Each box contained a pricey Dell laptop computer valued at $2,600. Guest says, “I would never spend that much money on laptops, that would take a big chunk of my budget, it’d take most of my budget.”

Guest later received a phone call from a man with a “heavy accent” claiming to be from the Dell warehouse. The man asked for Guest to ship the PCs back to the warehouse and gave an address. However, Guest was already wise to the scheme and worked with an official Dell representative to get the laptops back to their manufacturer.

You can read more about how Guest foiled the would-be laptop thief, and how the scammer was operating, in the August 19 issue of the Cairo Messenger or by subscribing to the newspaper’s website.

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