With the holiday season upon us, so too are scams. This week the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received the report of a fake check scam targeting a local resident.
The resident recently received an unsolicited parcel in the mail containing a Cashier’s Check for $2,675 made out to the victim and a letter claiming to be from “North American Financial.” The letter tells the recipient that they have been selected the winner of the “North America Consumer Promotion Draw” and are entitled to receive $250,000 as a result. The letter tells the recipient that the enclosed check is to cover “processing and insurance fees” and instructs the recipient to contact a phone number listed on the letter for further instructions.
The offer may sound like a nice deal, but it’s too good to be true. The check is a counterfeit. If deposited, it will be returned to the victim’s bank unpaid, and the full amount will be deducted from the victim’s account.
Protect yourself from scams this holiday season by following these easy tips:
- Be wary of unsolicited calls, texts and emails. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity, or a company with which you do business. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request – whether it comes as a text, a phone call or an email. If a scammer is impersonating a loved one or government official, call back at a publicly listed number for the organization from which the scammer claims to be or contact your loved one directly.
- Verify the legitimacy of a website before online shopping. If a sale sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam” prior to buying from a new website.
- Don’t click links from unsolicited texts and emails. A popular scam involves receiving a text or email that asks you to click on a link for a number of phony reasons, such as to get an update about the delivery date of an order, track the package location, give your payment preferences, provide delivery instructions or pay a shipping fee. Clicking on the link may infect your phone or computer with malware that enables a cybercriminal to capture your passwords or take control of your device. Or it may direct you to a form that requests personally identifying information, which can be a gateway to identity theft.
- Use caution completing social media giveaways. Online giveaways may solicit personal information in the form of an entry survey. Be cautious about what information you are giving away as it could be used to commit identity fraud or other types of cybercrime. Only enter giveaways from accounts you know and trust.
- Look for inconsistencies. Online and mail scams often include spelling errors, inconsistent email addresses or sender information, and more. While grammatical mistakes do occur in official mail and emails from time to time, the errors found in scams are often very obvious.
Learn more about common scams:
Report Scams: reportfraud.ftc.gov
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Scam letter and check received by a Humboldt County resident.