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Check Scam Tempting During Hard Times

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Valerie Rock (credit: CBS)

Valerie Rock (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – An alarming check scam is coming to thousands of people through the mailbox.

People have been receiving a very real looking check that could cost them hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

The check appears to be from a reputable company, but beware. Valerie Rock of Strausburg almost got caught in the scam.

“As much as I wanted to put this in my account and go grocery shopping I knew I couldn’t,” Rock said.

It’s the latest scam sweeping the nation. Counterfeit checks are being made with stunning accuracy and mailed to unsuspecting people.

“I was trying to discover why they would be sending me this check. There was no explanation, no information,” Rock said.

Rock is a legal secretary at the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office. Last Saturday she received a check apparently from Capitol One for $937.

Rock said she’s never had any contact with Capitol One, but times are tight at home and she nearly cashed the check.

“I could use this very much. I wanted to run to the bank and put it in the bank to get me through until payday,” Rock said.

Instead of acting on impulse, Rock contacted Mason Finks with the DA’s Consumer Protection Office. He said the scam is perfect for today’s tough economy.

“The number of victims are in the tens of thousands if not a lot more,” Fink said.

Finks said Rock’s check and envelope looked legitimate, but it didn’t have a phone number and had a fake invoice and router number. He said the check is usually followed by a call a few days later from the scammers.

Fink said they’ll ask if the check was cashed or deposited. When the consumer says, yes, they’re in for trouble. The caller then says the consumer has committed fraud and needs to wire the money back immediately. When that happens, the consumer is out the amount of the check.

Fink said the checks are a huge problem and they’re in the mail nationwide. He said more people need to beware, or they won’t be as lucky as Valerie Rock.

“I really do believe it’s gonna catch a lot of people,” Rock said.

To protect yourself be wary of unsolicited checks. If there isn’t a phone number, it’s a red flag.

Also go to your bank, talk to them about the check and have them verify it is legit.

Be careful never to wire any funds unless you are 100 percent sure where the money is going.

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