Residents in the area are being warned about a new phony check scam that has been making the rounds in the region.
There are several variations to the scam, officials said, but the most common involves a resident receiving notice that they won a “sweepstakes” with a faux check or first installment. Other versions involve letters from allegedly foreign countries that require the deposit of cash into a bank account for safekeeping, while others offer “too good to be true” or “work at home” proposals.
Authorities said that, “the checks look real, and might have the names of real companies on them, but they are fakes created without the companies’ knowledge.”
Officials called the schemes "clever" ploys designed to steal your hard-earned money.
In some cases, the fraudsters require the recipients to deposit the checks, then ask to have the money wired back days or weeks later. Once the forgery is found, the check will bounce and the recipient is on the hook for the money.
To avoid becoming a victim of scammers, authorities are providing some tips:
- The checks are fake but they look real (the companies whose names appear may be real, but the checks have been dummied up without their knowledge);
- It can take weeks for the forgery to be discovered and the check to bounce. You are responsible for the checks you deposit;
- There is no legitimate reason for someone who is giving you money to ask you to wire money back (this is the check overpayment scam).
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