Consumer Alert: Be alert for fake check cashing scams

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - Scammers are targeting online sellers and the elderly with fake check cashing schemes.

The Brown County Sheriff's Office posted a scam alert on Facebook. They've seen check cashing scams on Craigslist, eBay and Facebook.

Here's how it works: One recent victim sold a couch on Craigslist for $800. She received a check for nearly $4,000--much more than the asking price. The buyer told the victim to deposit the check, keep the $800 for the couch, take an extra $70 to immediately take down the ad, and then transfer $2,000 to another account.

The check was a fake and the victim's money was gone. The Sheriff's Office urges sellers to not let their desire to get rid of an item cloud their judgment.

There's another version of the fake check scam going around. A man contacted Target 2 Consumer Alert because he believed his 85-year-old father in Fond du Lac had fallen victim to a scam.

The father received a series of phone calls saying he won a lottery. Soon a letter in the mail said the man won $350,000. It came with a check worth $4,800. The man was informed that money was to cover taxes, insurance and shipping and handling on his winnings.

The scammers fraudulently included logos of 16 retailers to make it appear legit. It's not.

When the victim cashes the check, it bounces. The victim will be on the hook for that money.

In some cases, a victim is asked to pay for these taxes and fees with gift cards, or send a check for a smaller amount.

Sometimes scammers use the names of real companies like Publisher's Clearing House.

They are adept at playing on a victim's emotions. They manipulate a victim into believing they've won a big prize.

Always remember: If you didn't enter a contest, you didn't win.