A new check fraud scam has reached the Front Range.
It involves a sizable check that arrives in the mail that, once cashed, can make you an accomplice in a money laundering scheme.
I recently appeared on 9 News to address the concern of a suspicious viewer, Martha, who had received such a check in the mail for $2,240.00. It was drawn on the Brown-Forman Employees Credit Union of Louisville, Ky.
The check came with a set of instructions:
No. 1: Have the check cashed at your bank.
No. 2: Pay yourself $300 after cashing the check.
No. 3: Take the rest of the funds to the nearest Western Union and transfer that balance to an address in San Diego.
Incredibly, the check is not a fake. These are actually real checks, with real money attached to them, and you do get money in payment at the end. But you do have to do a little work for the cash. Martha was told that while making the transfer at Western Union, she was to observe how long it took to get service and if the customer service was professional. This is a ploy to make her believe she was actually doing some sort of job. In fact, had Martha followed through, she would have been committing a crime.
What they are doing is laundering illegal stolen money. They’ve gotten it through another breach like the Home Depot breach or the Target breach. They’ve gained all of this money, but they don’t want it to be tracked. So they send you a legitimate check, and they have you cash it because they don’t want to be traced to that money. You then get to keep a part of the proceeds, say $300 of the $2,500, and you send off the remainder to them. They now have laundered money in a legitimate check that you have given them. But you would be the one that’s held for the crime.
Keep your “Hogwash” radar on high alert if someone wants to give you money out of the blue. As always, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is!
John Sileo is an an award-winning author and keynote speaker on identity theft, internet privacy, fraud training & technology defense. John specializes in making security entertaining, so that it works. John is CEO of The Sileo Group, whose clients include the Pentagon, Visa, Homeland Security & Pfizer. John’s body of work includes appearances on 60 Minutes, Rachael Ray, Anderson Cooper & Fox Business. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076.