Sunday, January 3, 2010

Police warn of counterfeit checks


SAGINAW TOWNSHIP -- It’s the season for holiday cheer and unfortunately holiday scammers stealing money from consumers by using fake checks.

"This kind of stuff increases when people are…busy,” said Lieutenant Grauf. “They think [it's an] influx of money right before Christmas."

Saginaw Township police say scammers are finding new ways to steal your money and they're doing it through your mailbox.

Scammers send the counterfeit checks right to your home, and then ask you to send a small payment in return.

"Were talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars in counterfeit checks that are sweeping probably across the entire tri-city area," said Mr. Grauf.

He is a professional at spotting scams but says there are things you can do to detect a counterfeit.

First before you cash a check that you get in the mail, check the company's web-site to make sure it is legit.

Secondly real money grams always have a 1-800 number on the back so try calling the number if you have any doubts.

Finally talk to an expert if you have any questions. “Take it to your bank and have the bank put a 30 day hold on it,” said Grauf. “That will give the check time to clear."

It takes only a few minutes to cash in on what you may think to be free cash, but if it's too good to be true, it probably is.

"There are no free checks and if you did not play the Canadian lottery, you're certainly not going to get a check in the mail saying you've won it," Grauf said.

Police are also warning about another holiday scam.

Authorities say people are posing as mystery shopping companies and taking consumer’s money.

In the case of scams victims are always held accountable and could end up paying thousands of dollars in banks fees.

So it's important to research the company before giving any money.

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