Members of the department’s detective unit were at the Abbeville Kiwanis Club to warn everyone that check cashing scams are on the increase, especially around the holidays.
Detective Chris Hardy showed Kiwanis Club members company checks that were sent to unsuspecting residents with a letter attached to the check.
The letter informed the person that they won a large sum of money like in the $100,000 range in a lottery. But in order for the person to get the $100,000, they must first pay taxes on the money. The company, usually from Canada, sends a smaller check, around $4,000, informing the person that the check is to pay taxes on the lottery winning.
The person is asked to cash the smaller check and send it back to the company in Canada. The person is informed at the bank that it takes seven to 10 days to clear.
In the meantime, while waiting, the person may get anxious and calls the bank to see if the check cleared before the 10 days. The person learns that he or she has an extra $4,000 in their checking account, and thinks the check cleared.
Hardy said the person, anxious to get the $100,000 lottery money, sends the Canadian company a check for $4,000.
In the meantime, that $4,000 check that the person went to cash at his or her local bank, does not clear because the check is a fake. The bank contacts the person and informs him or her.
“It’s too late because the person already sent the Canadian company a $4,000 check thinking the first check was good,” said detective Jason Hebert. “But the check was no good and now the banks wants back its money. They are going after the person who cashed the check.”
Hebert said the person is now out of $4,000 because it is difficult to find where the phoney check came from. Also, the person who cashed the fake check can be arrested and charged with a crime.
He warns that if a check arrives with a letter informing you that you won the lottery but need to cash another check to get your money, it is a scam and throw it away.