Law Enforcement Warns About Yet Another Internet Scam

The St. Mary’s County Bureau of Criminal Investigations is urging citizens to be aware of numerous Internet Frauds/Scams. During the last few months the Maryland State Police and the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office have received numerous fraud complaints. The most common fraud complaint reported is the scam of a bogus response to a job seeking individual offering lucrative rewards to act as a financial “intermediary”. When a citizen receives an unsolicited email or letter from companies looking for representatives to establish a business presence, act as an employee and more importantly, for transferring payments promising a percentage of those payments, then you are dealing with a scam. No legitimate business will pay a large amount of money for transferring legitimate payments because in all cases there are far cheaper and safer alternatives. If citizens believe it’s too good to be true, that alone should raise a red flag. The majority of these unsolicited emails or letters are generated from Nigeria or Canada even though in many cases the alleged company is in an other country. The “representative scam” is a check fraud scam that can cause massive damages from thousands of dollars.

In some cases, names of legitimate companies are abused. Criminals may even list the legitimate web site. They may register web addresses that are similar to the real company’s addresses. In many cases no real company exists. The postal addresses are either fake or the address of a legitimate company unconnected to the scammers. Phone numbers used are mobile or “special service” numbers that redirect incoming calls to other phone numbers most of the times in the UK. All names used by scammers are either made up or are names of innocent people.

The scammer will solicit victims by mailing a fake check to deposit in their accounts. The victim believes they are forwarding payments, but they really are sending their own money and neither a buyer nor a seller exists. The scammers utilize stolen blank checks or fraudulent checks. The victim’s bank will make funds available in the account of the victim who deposited the check. However the funds are provisional. The victim and not the bank bear liability if the check is fraudulent. That is why you should never transfer funds on behalf of third parties, especially if you only know them via internet.

By the time the money is out of the victims account and in an other country, the victim is left to pick up the losses. For example if a victim has cashed a $10,000 check and wired or transferred $8,000 to a scammer who has offered a $2,000 commission, he or she will be left owing the bank even if the victim didn’t touch one cent of the commission promised by the criminals. This is just one example of the numerous scams criminal are utilizing to steal the hard earned money of their victims. Please be very cautious when accepting unsolicited funds.

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