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Newspaper Ad Leads To Phony Check Scam

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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BROOMFIELD, Colo (CBS4) Broomfield resident, Paul Madigan found what looked like a pretty good job in the classified section of the Denver Post. The ad was several column inches long and advertised for a part-time/full-time driver at $25 an hour.

“And it involved a 2011 Mercedes that he was going to have delivered to your house,” Madigan told CBS4.

Paul e-mailed that he was interested in the job, and that’s when the red flags started going up.

“He never asked for my driver’s license, never asked for references, never asked for social security number,” Madigan said.

But he did send Madigan 2 checks via Federal Express. One check was for $2418.00, the other for $1918.00. The instructions were to deposit the checks in his account and wire some of the funds to another address.

“It really made no sense to me. Just to get my interest to take the job, ’I’m going to give you money up front to do the job and as you need more money ask for it’,” Madigan explained.

When the checks arrived there were more red flags. The return address on the Fed Ex envelope was in Arvada, the checks were from a business in Florida, and the package was sent from Pennsylvania. Texts and e-mails shows the scammer pressuring Madigan to make the deposit and wire the money. If he had followed through, he would have been out more than $3,000.

“Nobody can afford to lose $3,000,” Madigan said.

Instead he did the right thing. He notified the Broomfield Police Department, and he returned the envelope with the checks to his neighborhood Fed Ex driver. Federal Express has a security department, who alerts law enforcement about these kinds of scams. Fed Ex told CBS4 that they often provide valuable shipping information and who paid for the package to investigators.

“I was surprised it came out of the Denver Post,” Madigan said.

CBS4 contacted the Denver Post to find out how they vet their classified ads and what their policy is if a scam is uncovered. No one returned our calls.
RELATED: More Reports By 4 On Your Side Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks

- Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith

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