What would you do if you got a check in the mail for $3,000?
They’re popping up in mailboxes across the Desert with letters about secret shopper opportunities or consumer sweepstakes.
But, they are a scam.
Jere Alm thought he hit the jackpot. He found a check in his mailbox for $3,670. A letter claimed he won a consumer sweepstakes.
All he had to do was call a phone number, cash the check, wire money to a designated agent to pay taxes and then he’d receive his prize.
It sounds simple. But, it isn’t. It’s a scam. The check is fake.
And, if Jere followed through, he would be out almost $4,000.
When Jere first got the check, he followed the directions and called a claims analyst for verification before he went to the bank.
“Once I contacted these people, they wanted me to cash the $3,670 into my bank account and then they wanted me to send them a check for $3,850 or thereabouts,” Jere said. “I thought that sounded kinda hokey.”
He did some research online and figured out it was a scam.That’s when he contacted News Channel 3.
We asked him to call the number again for the so-called claims analyst in Ontario, Canada.
The number is now disconnected.
Another News Channel 3 viewer also received a check in the mail, and even though he used to be a bank teller, he thought the check looked authentic.
We took both checks to Haddon Libby, the Chief Financial Officer at El Paseo Bank.
He says they could fool a professional, and it’s easier now than ever for forgers to create real looking checks.
“If someone wants money just to get other money, just assume they’re scamming you,” Libby said.
Libby says March is typically the worst month of the year for scams. But in these tough times, scams like this could be a trend that continues all year.
“If you are desperate for more money, you can imagine the scam artists are looking for it even worse,” Libby warns.
So, the next time you open your mailbox, beware.