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Ennis hit hard by check scams

Check fraud is a growing concern these days, and local police say Ennis has seen a slew of reports regarding this type of scam.
Det. Lt. Ron Roark said phony checks supposedly worth thousands of dollars are mailed to people, but when the check is put in the bank for deposit the receiver learns – the hard way – that the check is a forgery. Recipients of this supposed “blessing” in the mail are told to send back a portion of the funds in a money order to the sender as a payment for taxes or other expenses, but once they send their own money they realize the mistake they have made.
Roark said local people have reported this type of fraud 10 days in a row now.
“They are hitting us left and right,” Roark said. “It’s been really heavy lately.”
One police report listed a man who claimed he was informed he had won $270,000 along with a check for $4,150 stating it was for the payment of the government service tax and insurance. The report said the victim contacted an agent he was told to phone and she – very pleasantly – told the man to send a money order for $3,150 and another $800 to a person in Toronto, which would conclude his responsibility in the process and he would then receive a certified check for the $270,000.
The victim told police he was 20 years old and had lost all his savings – which was set aside for college – in one scam. Although this one incident targeted at a young man, Roark said most of these types of scams are focused on older people who are in need of money or don’t remember entering a lottery that doesn’t really exist and think it is an easy way to get cash.
“These things work in spurts,” Roark said. “We will go a month or two without receiving any complaints of this kind and then we will get about five in a month. It’s like they work on zip codes.”
Roark warned residents to beware of lottery schemes emanating from Puerto Rico, South Africa and Europe. Canada can now be added to that list.
“If it is from one of these places then it is a forgery,” Roark said.
Variations of the scame include forged money orders from Wal-Mart.

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Posted by on Oct 23 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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