How To Avoid Financial Scams
Although many times we read about scams happening to other people, we never think it will happen to us. Here’s a local story that will make us aware of scams in our own backyards. Last week one of our clients sent us an email about a check she received in the mail. This is her inquiry to Miller Elder Law Firm.
“Yesterday in our mail I received the check you see below. We thought it might be something from one of our investments so I wrote to our financial advisor and sent him a copy of the check. It was not one of our investment checks. My husband did some research and we think the check is from a loan consolidation company and if we cashed it (which of course we will not) we would be obligated to pay back the money plus large amounts of interest. According to the State of Florida Consumer Affairs Division, the check , upon deposit, would rotate to a scam financing source and will become a debt with heavy fees and 30% interest.” Is there anything we legally should do? Is this elder abuse at its worse? Just wanted to get your opinion.”
The Miller Elder Law Firm has received a copy of the bogus check and sent to the Attorney General Pam Bondi for further investigation.
What The Federal Trade Commission Recommends:
Some fake checks look so real that bank tellers are reporting being fooled. The scammers use high-quality printers and scanners to make the checks look real. Some of the checks contain authentic-looking watermarks. These counterfeit checks are printed with the names and addresses of legitimate financial institutions. And even though the bank and account and routing numbers listed on a counterfeit check may be real, the check still can be a fake. These fakes come in many forms, from cashier’s checks and money orders to corporate and personal checks.
If you receive any check, money order, or wire transfer from someone or a company you do not know, do not deposit it. Contact one of the agencies responsible for handling scams. After they have made a recommendation about the best course of action, you can destroy the check.
If you think you’ve been targeted by a counterfeit check scam, report it to the following agencies:
- The Federal Trade Commission
- The U.S. Postal Inspection Service
- Your state or local consumer protection agencies. Visit www.naag.org for a list of state Attorneys General, or check the Blue Pages of your local telephone directory for appropriate phone numbers.
Exploitation of the elderly is a serious offense and must be reported. The goal is to prevent future scams for this group and others. Be smart, be involved, and take action.