Clearfield, PA – Another scam is hitting Clearfield County, with one resident almost falling for it. Clearfield Borough Police say that one person was told they had been selected to be a “secret shopper” and was given a check.
However, this is part of a common scam in which a person is told that their first assignment on the job is to evaluate a money transfer service, like Western Union or MoneyGram.
The shopper receives a check with instructions to deposit it in a personal bank account, withdraw the amount in cash, and wire it to a third party. The check is a fake.
By law, banks must make the funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake checks can take weeks.
It may seem that the check has cleared and that the money has posted to the account, but when the check turns out to be a fake, the person who deposited the check and wired the money will be responsible for paying back the bank.
It’s never a good idea to deposit a check from someone you don’t know and then wire money back.
If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
If someone approaches you with a job opportunity or if someone you don’t know asks for money or your personal information, tell police immediately.
Although the person in this story wasn’t approached by someone calling on a telephone, phone scams are one of the top ways that people lose money to frauds.
The YouGov survey commissioned by CPR Call Blocker revealed the top five scams people are falling victim to in Pennsylvania:
- Internal Revenue scam
- Credit/loan scam
- Robocall/automated messages scam
- Lottery/sweepstake scam
- Missed call scam
Many of these scams rely on the victim handing over personal and security details or asking the victim to pay a processing fee or call back on a premium rate line.
While many of us are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to spotting a scam, 17 percent of those questioned have lost money to scams in the last 12 months. Of those, 23 percent lost less than $100, 22 percent lost between $100 and $500, but 27 percent lost between $500 and $10,000, and 4 percent were scammed out of over $10,000.
If you’re contacted out of the blue, be suspicious and never respond to an unsolicited call. Don’t assume a caller is genuine because they have information about you such as your account details.
Never give out personal information when answering an incoming call and if you’re not convinced the call is genuine, hang up and call back using the official phone number of the organization calling from their website or any paperwork you have such as statements.
Scammers also target people who they believe are vulnerable or more likely to believe them, many of whom are seniors. Be sure to talk to your family about the warning signs of a scam and ask about any suspicious phone calls they’ve received.
If you or someone you love have been a victim of any kind of scam, let police know immediately. If you suspect that something might be a scam but you’re not sure, you can always ask your local police or bank for their advice.
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