Beware of Scammers Circulating Phony Checks

Check Fraud is on the rise...

Winston-Salem, NC 12/14/2011

Several of the largest and most trusted insurance carriers with whom we place business are investigating reports of a growing problem related to counterfeit checks written on fraudulent insurance company accounts. Many consumers across the country have reported receiving fake Insurance Company checks as payment for employment, services or merchandise advertised online. The checks are in excess of the amount offered to the individual. Consumers are directed to deposit the check and wire or send the difference to a third party. Consumers should not deposit the checks but report them to Insurance Fraud Hotline at the numbers listed below.

“We received several recent reports of consumers being approached online about potential employment as a body guard or for personal protection services,” says Erie Corporate Security Supervisor Gene Robertson. “This appears to be a variation of an overpayment scam that is often used to victimize individuals. A few years ago, it was payment for participating in fashion, talent or modeling activities.”

How can you protect yourself? Double-check the check, Robertson advises. “Never accept what appears to be an Insurance check as payment for anything that you sell online without verifying with us that the check is legitimate.”

If you cash a counterfeit check, you are responsible for the money. Your bank or credit union will deduct the amount from your account. Victims typically lose somewhere between $3,000 to $4,000 on average according to the Consumer Federation of America.

“We’ve seen this pattern over the years and unfortunately people are losing money,” says Robertson. “Fraud is constantly evolving, so be on your guard. Remember, if the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

More information is available through:
 

Congress instructed the Federal Trade Commission to create a special clearinghouse for fraud and identity theft reports. Call 877-438-4338 for immediate help. You will also receive a booklet from the FTC with step-by-step instructions on what to do to moving forward. The National Consumers League also offers advice about how to avoid becoming a fraudulent check or ID theft victim.  
 
If you have any questions or if you think you have received a fraudulent check, contact at 336-794-2810 or via e-mail.

 

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