Community urged to beware of fake checks

| September 1, 2011 | 0 Comments
Maj. Matthew C. Vinton 
Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, U.S. Army-Pacific


FORT SHAFTER — Most of us know to just delete those emails that offer to deliver a fortune because a Nigerian prince died without any heirs.

Email is one of the most prevalent ways for scam artists to target their prey; however, that doesn’t mean that scam artists have totally given up on using “snail-mail” to find targets.

In fact, with current publishing software, printer capabilities and availability of personal information, sometimes a letter delivered by the U.S. Postal Service can provide great cover for a fake check scam.

Scam artists can produce what appears to be a cashier’s check and make it so realistic that it may fool the receiver. It may even fool a bank teller.

Scammers use document preparation software to create what looks like a real check from a trusted U.S. corporation, drawn against an actual bank. They then use personal information that they have obtained either on the Internet or through mailing list resellers, to put your name and address on the check. Once they print it out on a high-quality printer, it looks like the real thing.

When scammers send out these fake checks, they often include a letter claiming that the receiver has won some sort of lottery. The check requires the receiver to pay “government taxes on your big winnings.” The letter will even have a phone number to call a claim agent.

Do not call these claim agents. They are actually criminal scam artists. They will try to get more personal information from you, and they may try to get you to wire money to their accounts. These scam artists win if you cash the fake check and wire them funds, because the bank will hold you responsible when the check bounces.

Be on the lookout for checks for $3,980, claiming to be from Costco, drawn on a Bank of America checking account. Also, keep a sharp eye out for checks claiming to be from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, drawn on a Commerce Bank of St. Louis, Mo., account.

These checks are not real, and you have not won the lottery. To win a lottery, you must have purchased a ticket. Lottery winners must contact the lottery organization, and legitimate lottery organizations will not contact you first.

If you have any questions about any checks or prizes that you receive in the mail, come to the Schofield Barracks Legal Center, at the corner of Humphreys Road and Aleshire Avenue

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Category: News, Staff Judge Advocate (SJA)

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