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â€¨If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
â€¨Thatâ€™s what authorities are telling area residents about mail scams that are costing some Catawba County residents money and personal security.
â€¨The scams mostly come in the form delivery and electronic mail, authorities say, and they can give thieves access to personal bank information if not handled properly.
â€¨Tammy G. Sigmon, of Claremont, received a check in the mail through FedEx this week for $3,000. The check was supposedly sent through Key Bank NA in Brooklyn, Ohio from WakeFern Food Corp. in New Jersey.
Though the company and bank do exist â€“ and there is a routing number linked to an open account â€“ the funds inside the account are insufficient. â€¨Sigmon caught on to the scam before cashing the check and publicizing her personal information, but Catawba County Sheriffâ€™s Office Cpl. Eric Kanipe said victims fall for check gimmicks all the time.
â€¨Kanipe said the sheriffâ€™s office provides fraud programs for citizens often to make them aware of the many different types of popular scams.
â€¨â€śAnother big scam that is going around is when you put something for sale (online),â€ť Kanipe said. â€śThe (scammers) will send you a check for more money than they owe you, and then ask for the extra money back.
Three days later, the bank will tell you itâ€™s a bad check, after youâ€™ve already sent them a check for the extra money. That generally is the one that really gets people bad.â€ť
â€¨Because the scams occur online, through the mail and use existing businesses and banks, it can be hard to determine the difference between whatâ€™s real and whatâ€™s fake. Kanipe said itâ€™s best to be wary of unexpected money heading your way.
â€¨â€śThe best thing they can do is contact their bank so they can run the information on the check,â€ť Kanipe said. â€śThey should hold it for a few days and not do anything with it.â€ť
â€¨There are also websites that provide free credit checks for citizens once a year, such as Equifax Security Freeze, Kanipe said.
â€¨Claremont Police Capt. Gary Bost said fraud scams like Sigmonâ€™s occur from time to time in the city. He also said that if anything looks suspicious, the best thing for citizens to do is contact their bank.
â€¨Because most of the scammers operate outside of the country, Bost said itâ€™s hard to prosecute the individuals involved.
â€¨â€śUsually, we try to stop it from happening,â€ť Bost said. â€śWe usually go and talk to the victims about how to identify the scams. Itâ€™s happening a lot, but our banks are also really good about dealing with (fraudulent material).â€ť
â€¨Claremont Police Chief Gerald Tolbert said a scammer tried to pay one of his officers more money than was owed on an item.
â€¨â€śIf someone sends you a check you donâ€™t know youâ€™re going to receive, itâ€™s probably a scheme,â€ť Tolbert said. â€śIf itâ€™s unsolicited and too good to be true, it probably is.â€ť â€¨