Counterfeit Check Scheme Hits Close to Home - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

Counterfeit Check Scheme Hits Close to Home

Updated:
Green Bay -

Counterfeit checks are luring victims into a work at home scheme, and a Green Bay postal inspector is offering advice to help you spot it before you become the next victim.

"It basically works by distributing counterfeit checks through the mail to individuals in the U.S.," says Matt Schmitz, U.S. Postal Inspector.

Schmitz says the scheme starts with a simple email looking for an "account manager" who wants to work from home.

"She would receive large amounts of counterfeit checks in the mail, she would then re-package the checks and envelopes and mail those to people that she was directed to mail them to," said Schmitz.

Schmitz is specifically talking about the "middle man" in the scheme. The victim receives counterfeit checks from someone overseas, and sends them out with secret shopper letters.
 
The checks usually come with specific instructions for cashing. Individuals are asked to be secret shoppers:  buy an item, fill out a survey.  They're instructed to return any money they haven't spent.
 
Days later, the victim gets the bad news: the checks they deposited were counterfeit. They're now on the hook for the full amount.
 
In one case, postal inspectors tracked down the so-called "account manager." During a search warrant, inspectors found boxes of at least a thousand letters the suspect was preparing to send out.

"We had intercepted a package that was destined for her that contained somewhere in the neighborhood of $450,000 in counterfeit checks," said Schmitz.

Inspectors say the scam is growing in popularity because so many people are trying to find additional income.
 
To ensure you are not getting involved in illegal activity, research the company trying to hire you.

"If there is an overseas attachment to a work at home scheme, we would strongly recommend that the person investigate who they might be working for and query the company," said Schmitz.

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