ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Jeanne Marten never saw the con coming.
"He walked in and started saying some things about me and he asked me if I had a couple of minutes," said Marten, who owns Gene Mariez Salon in northeast Albuquerque. "The more I think about it, he just had this little magic trick I didn't catch on to."
The man, who identified himself as "Harbhjan Singh," came into the hair and nail salon just as Marten was finishing up her day May 24. He said he wanted to read her fortune and seemed to know very specific information about her.
"It kind of freaked me out about the things he knew about me," Marten said. "About the relationship that I'm in that's been in turmoil, about my daughter, about my kids and my ex-husband."
Marten, who said she never believed in fortune tellers, was caught off-guard by the man's spot-on information. Then Singh asked for money, she said.
"He had told me that (his fee) was $400 if I was poor, $600 if I was middle of the road and $900 if I was wealthy," she said.
Marten wrote the man a check for $250 and he left. However, almost as soon as he walked out the door, Marten felt she'd been conned.
"I realized I was absolutely had," she said. "And the money I gave him – I felt like an idiot."
Marten said she realized Singh didn't possess magical powers but instead had likely mined the Internet for personal details about her. A KRQE reporter found Marten's name and a significant amount of information about her life after about 20 seconds of searching the Internet.
Most of the information came from her Facebook page.
Marten immediately stopped payment on the check she wrote the man before he was able to cash it.
The same "fortune teller" also paid a visit to another nearby business, Exclamation Printing, the same day. A KRQE reporter was able to easily find information about employees of that business, too.
"He told me for a few dollars he could predict the future," said Jayson Cordova, an employee at the printing shop. "I said, ‘Well, you must not be very good because you wouldn't have wasted your time coming into this building.'"
The man didn't say anything else and left, Cordova said.
An Albuquerque police spokesperson urged social-media users to limit the amount of personal information they post online.
"Where your kids go to school, where you work, all of that information, those aren't things you would share with people on the street that you pass by," said Officer Tasia Martinez. "So why would you put it on the Internet where it's on the World Wide Web and accessible to anyone and everyone, including criminals?"
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Police responded to dozens of weather-related crashes in only a matter of hours Sunday.
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Morning Headlines and Forecast from KRQE New This Morning with Matt Mauro & Meteorologist Kristen Van Dyke.