Thursday, November 16, 2017
Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Milagros S. Johnson, Director of the Office of Consumer Information, are warning business owners and consumers of a bogus check scam circulating in the area.
This week Mayor Sarno has received two counterfeit checks in Priority Mail Express envelopes with a return addresses in Los Angeles, CA and Abbeville, LA. Neither envelope contained any other documents. It is noteworthy that one of the checks had a residential address in Jersey City, NJ, while the other for a business in Fillipin, AR. The checks were signed by ‘Steven Varghese,’ a common name accompanying this specific scam.
Typically these checks come with a letter telling the recipient that they have been selected as a mystery shopper, lottery winning or work-at-home scheme, and giving instructions for the recipient to deposit the check, and then wire a certain amount of money to cover fees back to the sender. Being that the checks contain fictitious routing numbers and do not clear your bank, the recipient is left owing their bank the funds.
“Any one of us is open to these unscrupulous attacks,” said Mayor Sarno. “We just wanted to get this information out ASAP to be aware of and not to get hurt by these dastardly acts.”
Director Johnson said, “If you receive one of these checks, do not deposit it, or ‘bank on the check!’” She also suggested that recipients of these scam checks report the incident to their local police department and the United States Postal Inspector. Johnson reminds consumers that with the holiday season come many more scams, fraud and identity theft, and she encourages everyone to use common sense, remain vigilant and trust their first instinct.
To report mail fraud, please contact the U.S. Postal Inspector at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777), or the Springfield Police Department at (413) 787-6302.