U.S. Postal Service cracks down on fake check scams - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

U.S. Postal Service cracks down on fake check scams

October 9, 2007

Albany--The U.S. Postal Service is cracking down on one of the biggest scams targeting south Georgians and the rest of the country: fake check scams.

To show they're taking these scams seriously, postal inspectors have already seized billions in fake checks and have made countless arrests.

The U.S. Postal service is calling this a global crackdown on scammers who target victims living in this country.

Since January, investigators have arrested 77 people in four countries and have recovered more than $2.1 billion in bogus checks bound for the United States.  That adds up to about 500,000 fake checks bound for the country's mailboxes.

The majority of these check scams are coming from Nigeria, the Netherlands, England and Canada.  Every day, dozens of these checks are sent to south Georgians.  Law enforcement says if it looks suspicious, then it probably is.

"They tend to target elderly people, the elderly population. For the most part, people in the older generation have a tendency to be a little more trusting and when they see something that looks official and it came from a bank, they trust banks," says Lt. Craig Dodd with the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office.

Many of these fake check scams have a common pattern.  And that is that many of these scammers will contact victims through the mail and send them checks or money orders. These scammers then ask that a portion of the money be wired back to them.

Here are a few examples of some of the most popular scams currently circulating through the mail:

There is the Sudden Riches scam. This scam claims you've won a foreign lottery or sweepstakes. Another is the Work-At-Home scam. This scam promises easy money by processing checks from the comfort of your own home.  Finally, there's the Overpayment scam. Here, the scammer claims to have somehow sent you too much money by mistake and needs you to send the rest back.

If you receive one of these a suspicious letter in the mail with a check enclosed, law enforcement says they best thing you can do is just get rid of it---otherwise, you can find yourself out of hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

You're also asked to report it.  You can do so by logging on to: www.fakechecks.org.

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