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Scammers sending bogus checks to Duncan residents

Duncan_Scammers are peppering Duncan residents with checks and money grams that appear to be the real thing - but they aren't.  Four people have received over-night delivery envelopes with bogus checks or money grams inside.  The checks appear to be sent directly from Wal-Mart, and along with the check is a letter instructing the recipient to forward 20% of the face amount to a specific address.  The letter informs the recipient that if they do, they will receive the full amount written on the check. 

Scammers don't usually operate from the same city or state of the people they are scamming, and often operate from outside of the United States.  It makes it difficult, if not impossible, for police to track them down. 

Duncan Police Lieutenant Jimmy Williams says that so many people are falling for the scam because the check seems legitimate.  "It's a Wal-Mart money gram," he said.  "As you can see, it's got all the proper deals.  If you were given this, you would think it was a very valid deal."  He says that those being duped are cashing the check, only to learn that it's bogus after the fact.  Then, they're the ones left paying.  "Six days later, the bank comes back and says the money order was a complete fraud, so I owed that back," said one victim who wished to remain anonymous. 

The victim was looking for a job working from home.  "I had put out a couple of applications that said I wanted to work from home, and I got one saying this is a job opportunity from home, we have a business in the United Kingdom, we need someone to take our payments for it," she said.  According to the letter enclosed with the check, all that she was required to do was forward 20% of the amount on the check to an address, and keep the remainder as her payment. 

Once the fraudulent check is cashed, the amount is debited to the check holder's account by the bank.  Once they realize it's fraudulent, the money must be paid back to the bank.  "It cost me a lot of money," she said.  "It's supposed to be a way to make money, and it ended up just costing me.  Not only is it a scam and they're lying to you, but it's really putting you in a bigger bind then you were already in."

Williams says that he has seen scams like this cost victims thousands of dollars.  He advises potential victims that if a check or money order has a familiar logo on it, it doesn't mean it's the real deal.  Always be sure to check with that particular agency before cashing the check.  He says that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

These scams could not only cost you big bucks, but could also cost you jail time.  If a fraudulent check or money order is cashed without investigation, you could be held legally responsible.
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