Don't cash that unexpected check - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Don't cash that unexpected check

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By Robin Jedlicka - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Times are tough. Wouldn't it be nice to get a big check in the mail?   A Cook County family recently got an unexpected check for nearly $4,000.   But it seemed a little fishy. It was from a business they'd never heard of.

When they did some checking, they found out they would have lost a lot of money if they had cashed the check.

A random check was the last thing Rebecca Young expected to find in her mailbox.

"My first reaction was 'this is probably a scam.' But I wanted to be sure because I didn't want to give up money."

The business check, which allegedly came from Plymouth Canton Medical Center in Canton, Michigan, is for a whopping $3,850."

Having no ties to that company, Rebecca was suspicious. She faxed a copy of the check to the manager of the bank that issued the check.

"She faxed that check back to her fraud department. Within about 20 minutes, they called me back and said that the account was already flagged, and that they had done this before."

If the Youngs had cashed the check, they would have received a call informing them that the check was a mistake and that they need to return the money. That's where the criminals make their profit.

"They look extremely efficient. They're very good when they do these. The checks look really good, the letters look really good, they put phone numbers in there that say contact this number."

When we tried to contact the number included on the Young's check, we repeatedly got an answering machine. Our call was not returned.

Bank workers say the lesson here is easy. "If it seems too good to be true- it is!"

Sometimes, it can pay more NOT to cash a check then to willingly deposit one.

The Young family worries that with so many people in need, more are likely to cash checks without taking precautions.

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