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Brian Luke Community Blogger, WGRZ-TV

Thursday, February 9, 2017

University at Buffalo Police and HSI Attempt to Void Check Cashing Scams



Back in October, the New York State University at Buffalo, (UB), released a statement in reference to check cashing scams. This article will hopefully offer some safety tips about different types of scams.
The statement from October, 10, 2016 and mentioned on WGRZ “Our Department has been working with Investigators from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) on an ongoing check cashing scam. In early October of this year, a scammer contacted a UB student through his/her email. The scammer sent the student a check, which later turned out to be counterfeit, and asked him/her to send back or transfer a lesser amount to purchase product that he/she would then sell.

These types of scams are rampant, but this particular scam appears to be targeting UB Students.
We are urging any students or faculty who have been affected to file a police report immediately with us. We will be sharing this information with HSI as we work towards identifying the suspects involved in this scam.

If you were a victim of this scam please call us at 716-645-2227 and ask to speak with Investigator Rehberg.”
Check cashing scams are most reported fraud in 2009. 42 percent of the complaints to the National Consumer League were about these scams.
1.     Advance fee scam is one of the top five check cashing scams. In this scam, a person is informed that the victim have won an unknown contest but must cash the check then write one from their account to cover handling fees or taxes.
2.     Human Resources: Employment Scams. A person will respond to an ad for a position then will receive instructions that they will be receiving additional checks. These must deposit them in their account. After depositing the checks, they are to keep as much as, ten to fifteen, percent and send cash back to the employer. The checks they deposited will turn out not to be genuine.
3.     Watch out for certain notifications about “gift”s. The person is instructed that they must send cash or money order for shipping, postage or handling to an unknown company and in return they will receive an unknown prize. The money is sent and the prize is never received, causing a fraud.
4.     Human Resources: A potential victim may be offered an opportunity to become a “mystery shopper”. They will receive a check to cover their first “job”. This check will turn out to be no good. Because of the natre of this work, whereas confidentiality agreements are present, the nature of this work actually works in the favor of the scam artists. During the onboarding process of any employment opportunity there should be an employment application. The company you are dealing with may have a BBB profile or a member of a trade organization, such as MSPA. There is also a type of work that is also awide target for scammers, that is merchandising. In many cases, a corporations may reach out to a sole-proprietor or sub-contractor and mail a pre-payment as part of a contractual obligation or for payroll or for expenses to conduct “Demo Days” where individuals sample merchandise, most often food, or beverage as part of a nationally scheduled campaign. This is not common, usually, only professionals experience this.
5.     Official Checks: Unfortunately, when individuals attempt to confirm an official bank check, sometimes, banks co-operate, some don’t. Occasionally banks refuse to confirm an Official Bank Check.
6.     Cashing a money order for someone else. A person may hand someone what looks like a money order and will then ask them to cash it for them. The money order will turn out to be a fake. The better way to describe this type of fraud is counterfeiting because the actual check or money order is real. But through use of bleach or household chemicals, the original handwriting, and or printing was removed and changed with a much higher amount. If a potential victim calls the money order company with the reference number that is shown on the face or receipt of the money order the money order company can inform the individual whom has received the money order if the money order is valid and for the correct amount and if it is safe to deposit. If a money order is not good, it can be considerede a forged instrument and should be considered evidence for police purposes.
If you receive an invitation for an employment opportunity, that seems fraudulent, always do your homework, but do not be shy about contacting law enforcement to check out checks or opportunities.

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