Never Cash a Mystery Check - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

Never Cash a Mystery Check

Updated:

It's a scam that starts with a check in the mail.

A college student almost got taken, but she did the right thing when she received a check for $3500 with no letter included.

"I had no idea who would be sending that money. I wasn't expecting any money, so I got real nervous," said Robie Thacker.

Just days earlier, Thacker applied for a job on Craigslist. She included her address and e-mail.
 
"I got a text message two days later saying I got the job."

Then came the envelope with the check--and she went directly to the bank.
 
"They looked at it and said 'I believe this is a fraudulent check'."

U.S. Postal Inspector Michael Romano says, "They'll typically tell you to deposit the funds into your account and then wire some of the money back."

If Robie had done that, she would have been responsible for the entire amount.

"No one you don't know out of the blue, no one, will send you money. It just does not happen," said Romano.

Thacker warns, "Don't ever cash a check you're not expecting, because it can really come back and hurt you."

There are several variations to the scheme.

Sometimes a letter will arrive with the check -- saying something like you've been selected as a mystery shopper.  Sometimes you'll get a fake money order.

Just make sure you don't cash those checks.  Have your bank check it out.

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