Triangle Briefs

Beware of scams offering prize, job

From Staff ReportsJune 7, 2006 

— Police issued a warning Tuesday about a fraudulent check and sweepstakes scam that has hit Durham in recent weeks.

Police have received numerous reports that are being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, according to a Durham police news release.

In one of the scams, the victim receives a check for between $15,000 and $90,000 and is told that he won a sweepstakes prize. The recipient is instructed to deposit the check, then send a portion back to the sender in the form of a Western Union money transfer for "processing fees" and taxes, the release said.

The original checks, often appearing to be from Canada or Nigeria, turn out to be fake, and the victim has been scammed out of the money sent for "processing fees."

A second scam targets people surfing job Web sites. Recipients receive letters offering them jobs processing money orders for local residents. This scam also requests a Western Union money transfer, and the victim ends up losing the money.

Anyone who receives a similar letter is asked to contact the Durham Police Department's Fraud Unit at 560-4440.

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