Monday, January 04, 2010

Tip of the Week: Beware of Check Fraud

I've heard of some interesting financial scams.  However, when one actually tries to scam the special agent-in-charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as Detroit's chief of police - well, I'm not sure if that takes cajones, stupidity or both.

The result of this can found in an email that I received.  I'm reprinting it in its entirety below. It is your Tip of the Week.

Andrew G. Arena, Special Agent in Charge (SAC), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Detroit, Michigan received an official looking company check in the mail for the amount of $2,600. SAC Arena had no knowledge of the company issuing the check or why he would receive such a check. The controller of the company said this has been going on since March/April 2009 and the identity of their company has been used to try to scam people all over the United States. Additionally, SAC Arena has received two more of these scam checks in the last month.

According to 2nd Deputy Chief John Roach of the Detroit Police Department, Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans had recently received a check similar to the $2,600 check received by SAC Arena.

In a different scam, a man received a business check in the mail in the amount of $4,250 with a letter attached. The letter stated the man was the winner of a lottery and he was entitled to a prize of $50,000. This letter advised the man to cash the check and send the money, as part of a tax payment, to an address/person listed in the letter. The letter promised the certified winnings check would then be sent to him. The letter even went as far as advising that there are scam artists who would ask someone to send money upfront without such a check being attached.

The FBI encourages the public to protect themselves and avoid becoming a victim of these check scams. What you can do:

  • Don’t believe everything you are told. If something sounds “too good to be true” it probably is.

  • Avoid being taken by high pressure sales. Take time to research offers before deciding whether or not to participate.

  • Don’t do business with anyone who solicits your money in advance of awarding a prize.

  • Inspect all representatives’ credential carefully.

  • Get all offers in writing and keep a copy for your records.

  • Don’t deposit checks sent by companies that claim the check is being sent to pay fees or taxes on lottery winnings.

  • Protect your personal information: do not write you bank account numbers, driver’s license numbers, phone numbers on the back of check sent by unknown entities, or entities that have no reason to send such checks.

    The public is encouraged to report these scams when they occur. Do not be embarrassed as these frauds are perpetrated by sophisticated con-artists.

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