St. Charles Herald-Guide

Sheriff warns residents to be wary of check scam

From staff and wire reports - February 17, 2012

The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office continues to receive reports about an old scam which involves residents getting a valid-looking check in the mail made out to them, according to Sheriff Greg Champagne.

A letter comes with the check which states that the recipient has won some type of contest and that there are "no strings attached." The letter instructs the resident to cash the check.

Many of the checks have been in the amount of $2,000 to $2,500. The bank will likely cash the check but send it off for collection. The letter will also ask for a smaller administrative fee in advance of a bigger payoff.

It seems like there is nothing to lose, so many people will go ahead and send this "fee" by check to the scammers. Then, a few days later, the bank will inform the resident that the original check was returned on a closed or non-existant account and charge back the amount of the check that was "cashed."

The resident is then out the amount of the check as well as the administrative fee sent, which has been cashed by the scammers.

"Folks, if something seems too good to be true, it is," Champagne said.