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 Another News article about a check scam

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Lester
Carrot Dangler


Joined: 20 Nov 2003
Posts: 2540
Location: Somewhere between here and there


PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 11:12 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Here are a Few i found in the news the past few days.. at least word is getting out

http://www.kokomotribune.com/local/local_story_086232646.html

Quote:

Lottery scam nails ‘winners’ with fake checks

Better Business Bureau warns of latest scams.

By JOHN DEMPSEY
Tribune business writer

If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.

The old adage may have even more meaning today, according to Linda Carmody, president of the Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana.

So, if you get a check for $2,900 or more, from a company you’ve never heard of, as part of winnings from a lottery you’ve never heard of or entered, don’t cash it, she said.

“It’s probably counterfeit,” Carmody said. “The banks the checks are drawn on are legitimate and so are the companies. The addresses of the companies and banks are OK, but the phone numbers listed belong to the counterfeiter.

“They’re buying bank check stocks so the banks can’t tell the difference.”

People receive letters from “lotteries,” informing them they’ve won a large prize. With the letter comes a check. The check, the letter explains, is being sent by a sponsor of the lottery to help cover the cost of processing the claim or insurance.

“The letter,” Carmody explains, “tells you to deposit the check into your account, send it a check to cover the amount of processing and keep the rest. People do that and then the bank comes back and says this account (the check is drawn on) doesn’t exist.

“In talking to the bankers, they say because it’s actual bank check stock, you can’t tell it’s fake. We’re hoping more tellers begin questioning consumers.”

Carmody related the tale of one Indiana woman who had fallen prey to the scheme.

“She’s a single mother whose car had broken down and it was going to cost $2,000 to fix it. Paying for it was going to be a problem and then all of a sudden she gets this check in the mail for $2,900,” the Better Business Bureau CEO said. “She took it to the bank, deposited it into her daughter’s account and paid for the car.”

When the bank processed the check, it came back as counterfeit. The real problem came at that point, Carmody said, because the bank had to debit her daughter’s account. That account is only used for the girl’s direct deposit survivor’s benefit from Social Security after her father died in 2005.

“Now, the woman owes the bank $2,000, but at least they’re working with her to pay it back,” she said. “People think about scams, but until they hear the stories, it doesn’t hit really. The counterfeiter doesn’t care who he hurts.”

As with many of the newest scams, this one originated in Nigeria and comes through Canada. One of the letters listed four different locations — an island in the Caribbean, a Canadian address and two cities in the United States.

“Most of the numbers [on the checks] are for prepaid cell phones,” Carmody said. “If we can prove to the issuer that the phones are being used by criminals, the issuer is willing to cancel the numbers.”

To do that, the Better Business Bureau needs original letters and checks, Carmody said.

“We’d like to have the originals. People can send the information to us. The issuer has said we have to fax the real documents to the company.”

Another item on the organization’s agenda is tracking down the person who e-mails companies with what appears to be a genuine concern or complaint. The e-mail comes from [email protected] — a fake address — and actually contains a potentially damaging hyperlink, which, if used, could download a virus on to the recipient’s computer.

“That one really ticked me off. They’re using our good name,” she said.

To know if it is a genuine BBB e-mail, Carmody suggests looking at who the consumer is. The fake ones do not name any customers.

“We give names and addresses so the company can look it up and find out who the customer is,” she said. “That way they don’t have to guess. We really want to try and find who is sending this information out.

“Anyone who receives one of these e-mails, or who has questions about other offers, can certainly contact us.”

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