A couple in Kinston thought they were applying for a homeowner’s loan back in October. They ended up getting ripped-off to the tune of $1,400. Officer Woody Spencer with the Kinston Public Safety Department says the phone scam involved a caller claiming to be from the Essex Credit Corporation, which is a legitimate company. Only the caller wasn't really from Essex. He convinced the couple to send the $1,400 before they got the loan. They have never seen any money come in. Essex meanwhile has posted a scam alert on its website. How can you protect yourself from a similar scam? Click on the following link to the North Carolina Attorney General's Web site.