Victim Of A Scam… Almost!

One fine day I get a call from my bank that a certain person was trying to en cash a suspicious check issued from my account to him. When I confirmed that I had not issued any check the bank stopped the check from clearing. It seems the person had got the check as a result of some sweep-stake winnings. When I learned about it I was shocked! I immediately put a hold on my account. Next morning when I logged into my account I saw a pending transaction of 888000.00 dollars. and account showing a balance of -888000.00 dollars. I ran to the bank the very next moment to find out, much to my relief, that it was not an actual transaction. Since I had put my account on hold, the bank had reduced the balance as a security measure. Phew!

Now this is how the whole scam works. A fraud company X got hold of my financial information i.e. my account number and routing number. The company X issued sweep stake winning letter to a person Y. Company X tells person Y that they have won 250,000 USD in sweep stakes. But in order to claim the money, person Y needs to pay a fee of 2500.00 to Company X. Along with the letter Company X issued a Check of 2500.00 to person Y asking them to cash the check and pay them the fee. The check however has all of my bank details, effectively making it as a check issued from my account. The person Y will then cash the check i.e. take money from my account and send it to Company X hoping that they will get 250,000.00 . Once the company X receives the fee person Y never hears from them again. Ever!

I was lucky and I thank the vigilant Bank Of America employees to have caught this and saved me all the trouble.

Who knows how many such letters are in circulation but so far I have seen 3 cases, 2 in New Jersey and one in Texas. I have given all the details to the Police and hope that they will be able to track the culprits. In his own words however, the police officer said that such cases rarely get solved!

Anyway the lessons to learn from this are

  1. Keep your financial information absolutely safe. Shred all documents and never have checks lying around for any one to see the info. You can never be too careful.
  2. If you get a letter and a check do not go and try to cash it because you may land up in trouble. In my case the guys who tried to cash it have been investigated by the police and they are listed on the case with their names and addresses.
  3. Remember Nobody gives you cash for free. Not even as sweepstake winnings! Especially the ones you haven’t participated in.

At the end all is well. I have closed that account. Even though I had to pay penalties for a few bounced checks but it is all set now and things back to normal!

February 5, 2009 · Ajit · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply