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Another day, another scam sending out a ‘real’ check

The check looks official but authorities say don’t cash it. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

BY Sarah smith

The scams are getting downright professional and scarier.

The short advice is not to try to cash the professional looking check that comes in the mail.

The latest is a check from Northern Assurance Brokerage and Financial Services out of Toronto.

The recipient won the “Communications Mega Sweepstakes Raffle.”

“Congratulations! You have therefore been awarded a total of $250,000,” the award letter says.

A convoluted letter and check is sent with an “advance payment” of $4,694.99 “to assist with the applicable tax and insurance handling fees to process your claim,” the letter says.

A PIN (personal identification number) is assigned and a “claims officer” named Steven Hart is assigned.

Hart tells the caller to cash the check immediately. It’s written on the “brazos valley schools credit union” all in lower case. But there is no identification as to where the schools or credit union are located, except a post office box in Katy, Texas.

Hart tells the caller if she reveals the PIN number, the transaction is void. He then tells her he’ll set up a meeting to pay her the rest of the monies.

This is a more brazen and scarier deal than past scams because of the chance of a face-to-face meeting.

Don’t do it, Park Rapids Police Chief Terry Eilers said.

“If you’re not expecting it, if you don’t deserve it, you don’t need it,” he said.

“If it’s too good to be true, it’s too good to be true.”

There are a number of discrepancies between the brokerage firm issuing the check and the transaction.

The brokerage firm’s Canadian address is an attempt to give the scam more legitimacy, Eilers said.

People are reluctant to believe Canadians are involved in scams.

“They’re probably bouncing these things off computers all over the place,” the chief said.

“We’ve had a few people lose all their money because of these things,” Eilers said.

The scam could have originated anywhere in the world.

Other scams are phone calls offering wondrous items you never wanted or even dreamed about.

They tie up your phone minutes and could tie up your bank account.

Eilers suggests there’s no ‘something for nothing’ deals in life.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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