The advent of new information technologies, coupled with the desperation felt by many in these challenging economic times, has many criminals putting some new spins on an old crime - The Scam.
Although these SCAMS are as varied as the imagination will allow, the Louisville Metro Financial Crimes Unit would like you to be aware of common themes represented in some local schemes. Some variations are as follows:
- Lottery Scam - You've won a lottery you've probably never played. You receive an advance check, but have to return a portion for the taxes.
- Secret Shopper Scam - You receive a check to shop for products or test a company's customer service and you need to return a portion of the money in the process.
- Political Refugee Scam - A foreign national contacts you and tells you they are fleeing to America and need your help getting money into the country. You receive a check as a test and are required to return a portion in good faith.
- Inheritance Scam - Your long lost relative has died and you are the sole heir. You receive an advance check and are to return a portion for the taxes and attorney fees.
- Internet - Classified Purchase Scam - You receive a check with an over-payment for an item you are selling. The purchaser asks you to send the difference to a third party.
- Work at Home Scams - You get a job helping a company with their "payroll." You receive checks and deposit them in your account. Your job is to withdraw funds and wire them out.
The underlying premise to all of these SCAMS is based on the victim receiving a counterfeit check or money order, depositing the item in the victim's bank account, and forwarding a portion of the funds through a wire transfer service. The SCAM reveals itself after the money has been sent and the victim's bank notifies its customer that the item was a fake. The victim is now financially responsible for all funds drawn against that item. The wired funds have usually left the country, so recovery is nearly impossible.
For that reason, education and prevention are law enforcement's best tools to combat this devastating crime in our community. It is a goal of the Louisville Metro Financial Crimes Unit that this information will help prevent you or someone you know from becoming a victim of The Scam.