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Fraud alert: Thieves targeting residents

Ennis State Bank reported two check fraud cases to Ennis police this week totaling $6,000 scammed from local residents.
Stacey Klever, of Ennis State Bank’s operations department, said the most recent incident involved a man who received a forged cashiers check for a phony lottery. The alleged winner, an Ennis resident, was told he was the randomly selected winner of $42,000 and a check was enclosed in the amount of $3,200. This check, the letter explained, was to be used for the Processing Nonresidential Tax payment and custom clearance, which according to the letter is required for the release of funds.
Det. Lt. Ron Roark said in these letters, the victim is asked to contact an agent who then requests the winner deposit the check sent to them and then send a personal check of a specified amount to cover these ambiguous costs. By the time their personal check has been cashed by the bogus agency, the victim learns the check they deposited from the firm is no good and has been returned.
“These sort of things come in spurts,” said Roark in reference to check fraud in a specified area.
Roark said these sorts of criminals prey on the elderly and he urged people to talk to their senior parents and/or relatives about this sort of crime to help ensure they don’t fall prey to this kind of trap.
Because these incidents represent an out-of-state fraud, the scam becomes a federal crime and Roark said federal agencies then combine the incidents, which increases the penalty if the perpetrators are caught.
Unfortunately, Roark said, federal authorities have had little luck locating the thieves who engage in this kind of activity because the letters can originate from anywhere in the world.
“In the last five years, we have had approximately 50 reports of this kind of thing happening in Ennis and they have yet to close a single case. These crooks are stationed in Europe, Cuba or some other foreign place and make most of their money from people 60 years old and older. Now two more of our residents have been scammed out of their money.”
Roark cautioned that those receiving checks from questionable sources claiming they have won a large sum of money should report it to the police department immediately and “they should never send money to anyone they have not thoroughly checked out.”
“If they aren’t absolutely sure, they should call us,” Roark said.

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Posted by on Mar 29 2007. 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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