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On May 6, the City of Shenandoah Police Department responded to a possible fraud call. The victim received a package in the mail that contained a check and a letter advising them to text a specific phone number in order to “secure the package” and await further instructions. The check was from “City of Vista, California." The victim was not expecting the package and had the presence of mind to notify the police, stopping the scam.
These types of crimes are very difficult to investigate, as the suspects are usually out-of-state or, at times, out of the country. Knowing how to spot a check scam and preventing it from happening is the best way to combat this issue.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, fake checks drive many types of scams. Most of these scams involve phony prize wins, fake jobs, mystery shoppers, online classified ad sales, and others. In a fake check scam, a person you don’t know asks you to deposit a check – sometimes for several thousand dollars and usually for more than what you are owed – and wire some of the money back to that person. The scammers always have a good story to explain the overpayment – they’re stuck out of the country, they need you to cover taxes or fees, you need to buy supplies, or something else. But by the time your bank discovers you’ve deposited a bad check, the scammer already has the money you sent, and you’re stuck paying the rest of the check back to the bank.
For more information please visit the Federal Trade Commission website at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2018/09/anatomy-fake-check-scam?page=2.