It’s nothing new, but as expected, the scammers are getting more creative. Those phony checks are looking more and more authentic. It has your name on it and you could really use the extra cash.
All kinds of red flags should be flying. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is it. If it requires a deposit and then a wire—that’s an even bigger red flag.
Hundreds of check scams — and plenty of other cons such as telemarketing fraud, investment fraud and Internet auction fraud — take place nationwide each year.
But some fake check scams can be particularly worrisome because they come complete with bank logos by high quality printers.
Here’s how it works:
A check comes in the mail with the U.S. Bank logo on it. It matches the exact logo of the real company. With it is a letter that tells receivers they were electronically selected from an Internet database and have won $80,000. It then gives instructions for proceeding with the first portion of the winnings — that $2,500 check.
Deposit the check in the bank. Then call the telephone number provided to activate the winnings. At that time, you will be asked to wire a processing fee of $800 and an administrative fee of $700. Those can only be made through Western Union or MoneyGram.
Once you send that money, the letter explains that the rest of your winning check will be sent to you in the amount of $77,500, delivered by FedEx or DHL.
If you think there is a chance it may be authentic, at least check the validity of a check, take it into the branch and have them check it out. Once you deposit that check, you are on the hook for what happens next.
That’s exactly what the scammers want — you liable for the money.
Their hope is that you will deposit the check for $2,500 into your bank account and then wire the $1,500 before the bank realizes the check is phony.
For more information on how to protect yourself from scams visit www.hvshred.com