On January 5, 2016

Police warn of social media scam, fraudulent checks issued

On Dec. 10 a concerned citizen made the Vermont State Police aware of an ongoing scam that is currently being conducted over Facebook. The citizen advised that she responded to an ad to be paid to display advertising material on her vehicle. She was issued a check for well above the amount agreed upon. This common scam has been perpetrated through several social media and online sales sites including Craigslist and Facebook, state police said.

The base of this scam is receiving a check for payment well above the agreed amount for services or for the purchase of a product.  The person who sends the check then contacts the recipient and says they made a mistake and issued the check with the wrong amount, then asking the recipient to cash the check and send the extra money back through Western Union, Green Dot Cards, or some other money transfer service. The recipient is usually pressured to send the money back immediately and as a reward offered to keep some of the extra money. The check is fraudulent and usually takes a week to be found fraudulent by the banks. At that time the banks remove the money from the recipients account and they are defrauded of the amount of money they sent to the original sender.

Be cautious. The senders make the situation very believable. If you think you are being scammed, search online for the company and bank listed on the check. Call the bank or company to see if the check is real or if it has had prior scams under its name. If the sender of the check is unwilling to void the check and reissue one for the correct amount, be cautious and speak to local law enforcement.

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