Some Mason City residents recently received unsolicited mail. One letter claimed the recipient had won a lottery; the second letter requested the recipient do some undercover shopping. Enclosed were checks with well-known business logos on what appear to be legitimate checks. The checks were written for $1800 – $4,000. The residents were wise and did not follow through on the checks.
Some tips to spot scam checks sent by mail:
Most letter scams are operated from Canada. Both these letters had Canadian postage / post marks.
Does the postmark / return address match the enclosed letter? These did not.
Both letters instructed the recipients to call the phone number in the letter before depositing the check for instructions on how to deposit the check or what to do with the money. The scammers will have live people waiting to accept the call. They will usually try to convince the recipient to deposit the check discreetly and then immediately wire the money somewhere to parts unknown. If the wire is completed, the victim will be unable to stop the transaction. Sometimes, scammers may ask the recipient to mail a personal check back to the scammer.
Do not give out social security, bank account #, or any personal information to anyone you do not know or trust. Most businesses have local offices you can contact to verify or disprove the letter. Your local bank also has resources to help investigate the legitimacy of some of these letters. |