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Rip-Off Alert: Checks 'out of the blue' unlikely valid

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 2/01/2013 10:00 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- This story begins with a check in the mail. The ending depends on you knowing exactly what to do with it.

Robie Thacker had a $3,500 check arrived at her house -- no letter included.

"I had no idea who would be sending that money,” Thacker said. “I wasn't expecting any money, so I got real nervous."

A few days earlier, in the process of applying for a job on Craigslist, Thacker -- a struggling college student -- included her address and email.

"I got a text message two days later saying I got the job," she said.

Then came the envelope with the check, and she went directly to the bank.

"They looked at it and said 'I believe this is a fraudulent check,' " Thacker said.

Michael Romano, a U.S. postal inspector, says scammers will “typically tell you to deposit the funds into your account and then wire some of the money back."

If Thacker had done that, he would have been responsible for the entire amount of the fraudulent check.

"No one you don't know out of the blue -- no one -- will send you money,” Romero said. “It just does not happen."

Postal inspectors say there are several variations to this scam.

Sometimes a check will arrive with a letter claiming you have been chosen as a mystery shopper, and directing you to shop at certain stores. Sometimes victims receive a fake money order. If you can see Ben Franklin's head without holding the money order up to the light, it's a fake.
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