This must be your lucky day you just got a letter in the mail saying that you won the Canadian lottery. Or was it Portugal? Whatever. You won and all you have to do is call the contact number in the letter to find out how to claim your money.
Ok, lets think about this, you have never been to either Canada or Portugal, and when you call the number, the nice woman on the phone tells you that for you to receive the lottery check, you must send a check, money order or wire money to an out of state (or country) location to pay for the prize money taxes. Surprisingly, you never receive the lottery winnings and you are out the money you sent.
You have just been hired by a foreign company or maybe you received a plea from a foreign individual and they each have the same problem; they have all this money and they just don't know what to do with it because they do not have a proper bank account anywhere to cash their checks. They ask you to cash their checks for them and tell you that you can keep a significant portion of the money for yourself as a fee for your efforts. You bring the check to your bank, deposit it and lo and behold, the bank clears the check! It must be legitimate right?! Wrong.
These scams are the most prevalent and our Department handles these on a regular basis. The checks sent are fraudulent and the account numbers counterfeited from real businesses. The problem is, by the time that victim business discovers the fraud and reports it to their bank, the victim has already cashed the fraudulent check and sent a lot of money to our bad guys overseas, usually via Western Union. Now your bank is after you for the entire amount of the check. These are difficult (at best) to pursue due to the bad guys being overseas and they know it.
There are several varieties of this scam to include the Secret Shopper jobs and going after people looking for employment on websites such as Monster.com
Another tactic these thieves have developed is soliciting potential victims in classifieds such as Craigslist or even your local newspaper. They will offer the victim who, for example, is selling their couch or renting their condo, more money than what the victim is asking. Then they ask the victim to cash their check and send back the difference. Very common scam, please be wary and do not cash check for individual who asks you to send them back money!
Phony Phone Calls
You receive a call from someone stating that they are an IRS agent who is asking you to confirm your bank information so that you can receive your rebate check. In reality; the IRS does not care whether or not you receive or even cash your rebate check. Why would they personally call you for deposit information?
You are a small business owner and receive a call from a person claiming they are from FP&L stating that they never received your last payment and they are going to shut off your power within the next hour unless you can give them a credit card number to pay the bill. Always verify information by hanging up with the rep and calling back the legitimate number you have for FP&L and check with the billing department. It is policy for FP&L to send at least 1 notice of delinquency right? Do not be in such a rush or panic that you provide valuable bank or credit information to a complete stranger on the phone.
Such as multiplying your initial investment within 30 days
Vishing (Voice Phishing)
You get an automated message via phone asking you to call your bank, credit card company etc. Your caller ID will reflect a phony number. You call the number and are asked to punch in your account number, PIN or other personal information.