"Banana Island," by Susan Breen, in Mystery Writers of America Presents: Crime Hits Home, edited by S.J. Rozan, Hanover Square Press, 2022.
This is the third appearance in this space by Susan Breen, and her second this year. That's a rare thing.
Marly is a scam baiter for the IRS. I knew there were amateurs doing this work for fun, but are there really professionals? Cool. Marly engages with scam artists, ideally to catch them, but at least to keep them busy so they are not robbing the gullible.
Marly has been spending a lot of time on the phone with a Nigerian who she believes is a con artist, but she can't quite convince him to ask for money. In fact, he seems a bit of a charmer. To raise the stakes she tells him about the situation her family is facing: Most of the members live in Long Island City, where homes are shooting up in value. A realtor just made a blind offer of two million dollars for Marly's house. Her Nigerian pal urges her to take it, of course.
But the family turns out to have bigger problems than the real estate boom. And as things get more dangerous Marly has a harder time figuring who the good guys are. I very much enjoyed this twisty tale.