Bad checks tip off scams in Clearfield

May 21 2011 - 6:03am

CLEARFIELD -- The Clearfield Police Department is seeking information about a pair of recent scams in the community.

City police recently responded to a local check-cashing business to investigate two separate incidents involving people cashing fraudulent checks, said Sgt. Kyle Jeffries.

"When police arrived, they quickly realized that they were dealing with the same old scams in new forms," he said.

The first scam, Jeffries said, involves the Secret Shopper Program, where people are given a check to cash and told to use the money to purchase items as a secret shopper. Their first assignment is to go to a Western Union and wire a large portion of the money provided back to the company.

People are depositing these checks into personal accounts and wiring the money to the fraudulent company. The scam victims are then held responsible for payment to the bank when the check does not clear, Jeffries said.

The other scam, he said, is for a lottery that was supposedly won through Publishers Clearinghouse.

Scam targets receive a check, along with a letter that instructs them to cash the check and return a large amount of the money to the company as payment for taxes due on the winning of more than $60,000 that would be sent after the tax payment is received, Jeffries said.

In this case, he said, the victim was from another country and was applying for U.S. citizenship. This person may have been charged with a felony offense and deported if the officers found that the victim knew the check was fake and still tried to pass it.

"We would like to help others avoid falling into this trap as a victim," Jeffries said regarding the department's request for information.

"If we have had a handful of these cases in the last few weeks, I assume other agencies across the state are responding to just as many or more fraud cases involving these types of scams."

Those with information or questions about these scams are urged to call Jeffries at the Clearfield Police Department at 801-525-2806.

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