Wicked Local warned consumers about a check scam that targeted the Police Chief at Hingham, Massachusetts. Like many other check scams, the a package arrived snail mail -- in this case, UPS. The package included a letter and bogus $3,000.00 check which appeared to be from a legitimate business. The letter includes instructions to wire money, about $250, to cover supposed taxes and fees.
Police Chief Michael Peraino was suspicious and called the business first to verify the check. The receptionist at the business verified that the check was a fake, as the business had already received many phone calls from consumers.
Fraudsters attempt check scams like this because they receive real money wired to them from each victim long before the victim realizes that the bogus check they deposited in their bank account has bounced. Each victim is out the $250 they wired, the amount of the bogus check, and any bounced-check fees from their bank.
Check scams like this are a reminder for consumers to verify first any check you receive from an unknown organization or person.The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) advises consumers to follow these steps to verify a suspected scam:
- Contact the company involved directly, using a customer service number you find in the phone book or that you have used in the past.
- If you were solicited online, contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. Or, contact your local State Attorney General's office.
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission via phone (877-FTC HELP) or e-mail
- Avoid scams that appear to use expensive out-of-country telephone numbers. If you are unsure about a telephone number's location, look the number or Area Code using this free decoder.
If you are unsure who the attorney general is in the state where you live, then browse this list. Readers of this blog are familiar with a similar check scam that targeted Craig's List website users.