From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — Attorney General Steve Marshall and State Comptroller Kathleen Baxter have a warning for consumers after fraudulent checks were sent to people in Alabama.
The checks look like they are from the State of Alabama Department of Finance. The receiver is asked to send a certain amount of the money to certain places for various factious reasons. One example is the person was told they were getting a sign-on bonus for a job that was applied for through the internet. Another example is that the payment is for agreeing to advertise with logos or wraps on a vehicle. Some of the scams have gone as far as telling the person they are receiving an inheritance from a recently deceased family member.
Marshall and Baxter advised that anyone who receives an unexpected check from the State of Alabama seek verification by calling the State Comptroller’s Office at 334-242-7050.
“It is particularly offensive for someone to hide their dishonesty behind the good name of the State of Alabama,” Marshall said. “The State of Alabama will never send a check with instructions to open an account or send some of the money back through irregular means. If there is ever doubt about a State check, consumers should contact the Comptroller’s Office, and for concerns about other unexpected checks, they may call the Consumer Interest Division in my office.”
Marshall and Baxter offered the following cautionary tips:
- Be on guard for anything that seems suspicious. The check, as well as the story, could be fake. Do not cash a check from someone you do not know.
- Fraudulent checks may look legitimate. It is important to verify with your bank that the check has cleared before spending the money. Under federal law, banks allow funds you deposit to be made available quickly. Just because you can withdraw the money does not mean the check is good. A fake check scam could cost you thousands of dollars.
- Do not wire money to someone you do not know. Wiring money is like sending cash and cannot be recovered.
- Report suspicious checks or money orders to your bank as soon as possible.
- You may seek advice from the Attorney General’s Consumer Interest Division by calling toll-free 1-800-392-5658.