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Con artists contact people through the mail, by telephone and over the Internet with only one objective — to separate you from your money. These thieves are very persuasive and use all types of excuses, explanations and offers to get you to send them money. University Police reminds you to protect yourself from some of the following scams:
Many recent scams involve counterfeit financial instruments such as checks, money orders, MoneyGrams and postal money orders. You might think cashier’s checks, money orders and MoneyGrams are as good as cash, but they are just like any other check. They are only as legitimate as the person who is sending them to you.
Bank customers are responsible for the checks they deposit, and victims must repay the bank for bad checks. Federal law requires banks to make the funds you deposit available quickly, but it’s important to understand that even though the money can be withdrawn, this doesn’t mean the check is legitimate. Banks often release funds from a cashier’s check or money order before it clears.
A typical scam involves advertising an item on the Internet. A buyer contacts the seller about purchasing the item with a check, but sends a check that is greater than the selling price and tells the seller that he either mistakenly sent too large a check or that the extra money is to pay a shipper. The seller is then instructed to wire the balance back to the buyer or to send it to a shipper. The unsuspecting victim deposits the cashier’s check in the bank and waits until the check is believed to have cleared. If a cashier’s check is used, the bank typically releases the funds immediately, or after a one- or two-day hold. The victim then forwards the funds as directed only to later discover that the check was counterfeit. It may take two to three weeks for the check to be determined as counterfeit. Naturally, after wiring the money, the con artist is nowhere to be found and the victim is responsible.
A more recent scam has involved university students. Several university students around the United States have applied for job postings on a career resource center website. After students apply, they are told they did get the job, but the employer had to step outside the country due to a health problem, etc. The center mails a check to be deposited into students’ accounts, but request students mail a portion to a third party. As in the other scams, once students wire the money, it is discovered there is no employer and the money is lost.
Please remember that con artists use a variety of scams to take their money. If it sounds too good to be true it’s probably a scam.