On Your Side: Checking for Scams

By: Ryan Duffy
By: Ryan Duffy

February 8, 2006
The promise of easy money is exciting. That excitement is what con artists use to steal from you. But 12 On Your Side is watching out for your wallet and checks out the latest check cashing scams.

Sometimes it comes disguised as foreign lottery winnings, or sometimes it's a promotional award, but these checks in the mail are definitely scams. If you cash them at a bank, no matter what the reason you did it, you're on the line for the full amount.

One South Augusta bank has recently seen two customers wanting to cash checks like this one, they received by mail. It looks legit, it has a bank account number and has a bank address in Ohio. But fortunately the Augusta bank was suspicious when they saw the accompanying letter explaining it is part of a foreign lottery prize and this check wasn't cashed.

And this email we received clued us in to another similar scam. But in this case a Hephzibah woman received a check for what was supposed to be promotional prize money. All she had to do was cash it and send off some of the money to claim her entire prize.

These scams may seem easy to spot but they are growing because they are very successful and new variations are coming out every day. Look for the red flags with one of these checks. Did it come through the mail completely unsolicited? Does the check sender request you send any money from the check on to a third person?

If you cash one of these checks you can actually be charged with passing counterfeit checks or even money laundering. And if you have any question one of these checks is legit, bring the letter or envelope that came with the check to your bank and have them take a look.

This scam is growing because it works.

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