June 18, 2013. On Friday, the Boone Police Department received a report of fraud from a Boone resident. The man was the victim of a check scam in which he was contacted online in response to his Craigslist advertisement. The suspect purchased the item listed for sale but did so with a check, which was in an amount greater than the purchase price of the item. The check was received by the victim with instructions for distributing the remaining amount to 3 different locations via Western Union. Two of the locations were in the United States and one was in Nigeria. The victim in this case was subsequently contacted by his bank and was informed that the checks were worthless. Often financial institutions will hold you responsible for money lost as a result of a scam
This type of fraud is commonly referred to as a “Nigerian check scam”. The Boone Police Department would like to make the public aware of some indicators to look for to prevent being a victim. These individuals use email, postal mail, and telephones to contact potential victims.
Avoid responding if any of the following are present:
- Any correspondence which offers you money but requests that you pay a fee first.
- Any correspondence that offers you a check and requests that you take a percentage and then use Western Union to send the remaining money somewhere else. The use of Western Union is common in these scams and should be a red flag.
- Any prize winnings from contests that you did not participate in and that request you pay postage and handling, other charges, or request banking information such as an account number in advance.
- If the person contacting you advises you against speaking with your bank, attorney, or contacting the company they say they represent before fulfilling their request.
- If the contact is requesting that you assist them in getting money out of their country.
- If the contact is telling you that you are receiving an inheritance from someone you don’t know.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Any promises of large sums of money in any context by unknown people online, through mail, by phone, or otherwise should be carefully scrutinized.