Here are some of the latests scams in the news!
A Federal Credit Union located in Ishpeming, Michigan, received numerous fraudulent checks and money orders. The following is part of the article:
"A recent example we've seen is that someone gets a letter telling them they won the Spanish lottery and it's worth a huge number, like $100,000," General Manager George Isola said. "The money is waiting for them in a bank in Minnesota but in order to get it out they have to send something like $2,100 to pay taxes and duties.
"It used to stop right there, hoping people would just send them money. Now, people get a counterfeit cashier's check as an 'advance' on their lottery winnings. All they have to do is take it to a bank or credit union, deposit it, withdraw the cash and then go to Western Union and send the cash back to them to cover the taxes, fees and tariffs."
A couple of weeks later, the person who deposits the check is usually notified that it was indeed counterfeit and that they now owe the money back to the institution they cashed it at.
According to police, the key to not getting scammed is to avoid the situation whenever possible.
"If you have no reason to expect something like this in the mail, you can assume it's a fraud or assume it's a scam," said Detective Capt. Mike Angeli of the Marquette City Police Department. "There are people constantly drumming up and thinking up new ways to scam people. This particular scam will eventually wear out its welcome and a new one will come around."
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A press release from the Bureau stated the postal forwarding scam is targeting consumers in west Michigan who are looking for a way to make money working at home. The process usually begins with unsolicited 'help wanted' emails from Dr. Aubert, managing director of Tapar Group, Dakar, Senegal.
Dr. Aubert writes in the emails Tapar Group, a company dealing in the production and supplying of Batik and assorted African fabrics, is searching for a bookkeeper and representative in the United States.
According to Dr. Aubert, cashiers checks, company checks and money orders from American clients cannot always be cashed outside the U.S. and therefore create lapses in handling funds. To eliminate any payment holes Tapar Group needs someone living in the U.S. to work as their representative and assist in processing payments.
The letter goes on to ask the prospective U.S. representative to receive the payments, deposit them in their personal bank, cash the payment and then deduct their commission of 15 percent. The U.S. representative is also asked to transfer the charges and forward the balance funds to one of Tapar Group's representatives via Moneygram or Western Union.
People that respond to the emails are told they are hired and are immediately sent realistic looking cashier checks or money orders, which they are told to deposit in their local bank.
Several days after completing the transaction the bank calls to report the checks were counterfeit and that they must pay back the thousands of dollars to the bank. Some people may even be prosecuted by the bank for fraud.
The Bureau warns anyone looking for a work-at-home opportunity to be aware of job postings from Canadian or overseas employers.
Company reports can be checked online at the Bureau's website [www.bbb.org], or by calling the Bureau 24 hours a day at 800-684-3222.
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The Mid-South Better Business Bureau is monitoring a check-forwarding scam that is disguised as a work-at-home opportunity.
Mid-South BBB President Randy Hutchinson says a Canadian company called Fidelity Staffing, no physical address available, is putting ads in the Commercial Appeal. The ads lead victims to online job sites, where they are offered a job forwarding checks for Fidelity's American clients. The victims are led to believe if they deposit Fidelity's cashiers checks in their personal accounts, then write personal checks to Fidelity's clients so those clients can buy ads in local newspapers, then the victims will receive a $100 commission.
"Basically, they are asked to take money, deposit it into their account and wire it out," says Hutchinson. "Ultimately, the checks bounce. They lose whatever money they wire, and they expose themselves to identity theft."
Chrisie Burkett of Bartlett, TN, took the bait and deposited Fidelity's cashiers checks into her personal account.
"The checks that were deposited were fraudulent," Burkett says. "(My bank) put a 'No Debit' hold on my account, which means it was closed." Burkett loss access not only to the cashiers checks, but also to $800 she already had in her account.
In 2005, federal regulators, law enforcement agencies and attorneys general from 14 states launched an assault on work-at-home schemes like Fidelity Staffing's. The sweep, called 'Project Biz Opp Flop,' netted more than 200 operations for fraud and violations of states' consumer protection laws.
Six years ago, the Mid-South Better Business Bureau conducted its own investigation of dozens of work-at-home offers available in our area. Not a single one was legitimate, according to the BBB's investigation.
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