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Fraud Series- Check Scams

For November, I’m going to be doing a scam series.
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What scams are out there, how to avoid them, and how to keep your information safe.  With the holiday shopping season approaching, we ALL need to be careful.

My first topic is check scams.

Check schemes come in all forms such as foreign lottery, online auction, inheritance and secret shopper offers. Here are a few ways to avoid these scams.

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  • Have you received a ‘gift’ in the mail, email or by phone, and then need to pay a shipping fee or tax? Remember, if it’s a ‘gift’, you shouldn’t have to pay for it. Say “no thank you” if its by phone. Delete the email or if you got a package, return it to the post office in person so they can track it for fraud.
  • Know who you are dealing with. Never wire any money to a stranger. You probably won’t get a refund..
  • Don’t enter foreign lotteries. Playing foreign lotteries via mail, email or telephone is illegal. Plus, if you personally haven’t entered a lottery or publishers clearing house, don’t respond back.
  • Did you receive an email from your long lost relative that lives overseas? SO did I! Change your email password and mark the email as spam. Don’t respond.
  • There’s a knock at your door…. the person says “Act NOW” is the offer you’re getting. If you don’t respond, you’ll lose out on the chance. Lose out! It’s okay.
  • ‘Foreign government officials’ be careful of people who “claim” this title and who are asking you to place/deposit large sums of money in an overseas bank account via wire. Take their information, name and phone number and tell them you’ll call them back. Then call the FBI with the information given.
  • If you’re selling an item online (KSL, Craig’s list, facebook yard sale groups), do not accept a check for more than your selling price. Even if they say the rest is for your trouble. For example my husband and I were selling his motorcycle on KSL when he left for Iraq. I received an email from a person that said he had been looking for this particular bike for months. We were selling the bike for $1200. He said he was mailing me a cashiers check for $6000, which he did. $2000 was to pay for postage since he lived in another state and I was to keep the rest. I knew he was a scammer immediately. He sent me the cashiers check and it looked completely valid. (I had him mail it to my work) I Googled the bank and called the number (NEVER call the number on ANY check your given. The person you got it from or a friend is on the other line waiting for you to call to say its a valid check).  The cashiers check I was given was fraud, I sent all info to my works fraud/security department and never responded back to the scammer.
  • Guard your personal account information very carefully. Change passwords every 2-3 months. Don’t keep your wallet or purse in your car if you’re running into the store. Leave any excess cards you’re not using at home. Don’t keep any social security cards or birth certificates in your wallet.

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