Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Public Service Announcement: Scam/Fraud Alert

I recently signed up to receive an email about crime in my town through Citizen Observer. I did this because of a rash of attacks against women while out running or walking in my neighborhood (sorry Mom, I know I didn't tell you about this, but you've got enough going on without worrying about this too!). What's really cool about Citizen Observer is that they work with many towns, so I encourage you to go look up your town.

Today I received the email below. While this scam was attempted in my town, it could easily have happened in any town, so I wanted to put you, my faithful readers, on alert. It sounds a lot like the Nigerian email scam, only this scam happened through the U.S. mail, which could make it a Federal crime.
Arlington Heights - Scam/Fraud Alert through the U.S. Mail

Arlington Heights resident received a suspicious check from Life Investors Insurance Company of America. The check was attached to a letter from Readers Digest explaining the resident was a prize winner and should cash the check before contacting one of the listed names on the letter. The resident called the number provided and spoke with a male subject who told them to cash the check and call back for further instructions. The resident contacted Readers Digest who advised that no letter or check was mailed. The check was never cashed and the incident was reported to the Arlington Heights Police Department.

Typically the offender will send a counterfeit check to the victim and make up some kind of story about where the money came from. The victim is told to cash the check and send a portion back to the offender for some service or processing fee. The bank eventually finds out the check is counterfeit and the victim is responsible for the amount cashed. The loss to the victim is the amount sent back to the offender.

There are numerous frauds/scams being used against unwary people. They all offer you some type of financial or personal gain that is too good to be true. Do not let yourself be caught in their traps.

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