04/02/2012

Be Cautious of Scams

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office would like to once again remind residents to be cautious of potential scams.

Our office has recently responded to several possible scam attempts.

In one scenario, a daycare provider was sent a fraudulent money order for several thousands of dollars.  A note that accompanied the letter said that she apologized for the amount being so large, but she was in London wanted to pre-pay for child care before she moved to our area.  The letter went on to tell the would-be victim to cash the money order, take out a few hundred dollars, and mail the rest back to an address in Chicago.

A second incident involved two men, with reportedly Jamaican accents, who contacted a resident by telephone.  They advised the resident that they represented Publisher’s Clearing House and that she had won several million dollars.  The scammers went on to say that they were en route from St. Louis to present her the check, but their boss required they first process some paperwork.  The sweepstakes “winner” was responsible for those processing fees, which they claimed totaled several hundred dollars, so they needed her to go to Wal-Mart, purchase a gift card and call them back with the account number.

A third situation involved a resident applying online for a “secret shopper” job.  After applying, she was mailed two checks for approximately $900.00 each.  She was instructed to cash both checks, take out $250.00 to cover gas and expenses and mail the rest of the money to an address on the east coast.

Unfortunately, these scams, which typically originate overseas, have been around for several years, in one form or another, which is an indication that they are successful.

It is always important to remember these thieves are professionals and sound extremely convincing. 

However, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is and it’s always worth being suspicious of unsolicited checks / money orders that you have been sent. 

Most times you can have these documents verified by your local bank.