The BBB has learned that Realty Fresno has been a victim of a serious counterfeit check scam. Realty Fresno checks are being sent out with a scam letter encouraging recipients to cash the checks.
We have confirmation from Glenn Hammerburg of Realty Fresno that the checks have hit several states. One check was issued to a consumer in Fort Wayne Indiana for $4685.00 along with a claim form from Shaw Financial Incorporated. The claim form is for the consumer to complete and return a processing fee for $3950. The processing fee is to be paid in order to collect the $250,000 winning prize for the English, Spanish or African lottery.
Experts estimate that billions of dollars have been lost as the result of fake check scams. Scams involving fake checks come in many different forms and can be very hard to identify as the printing technology used by scammers improves. Better Business Bureau warns against three common check scams and offers advice on the red flags to look out for.
According to a recent survey by the Consumer Federation of America, nearly one-third of adults have been approached by a scammer trying to pass off fake checks and at least 1.3 million people have become victim of the scam with an average loss of $3,000 to $4,000.
It can be practically impossible to tell a fake check from a real one using only the naked eye because fake checks can be printed in full color and even include watermarks. Many check scams plaguing consumers in the US are the work of scammers operating outside of the country and originate in Canada, Jamaica and Africa which makes it extremely difficult for law enforcement to track them down and bring them to justice."
Scams involving fake checks typically require the victim to deposit a check into their bank account then wire money back to the scammers. While the check may initially be deposited into the victim's bank account-leading to a false sense of security-the fake check will ultimately be discovered within a couple weeks and the bank will take the funds out of the account. The victim of the scam is out whatever money they sent to the scammers and will be responsible for paying the bank back if their account is overdrawn.
Victims receive a letter claiming they've won a lottery or qualify for a financial assistance grant. Included with the letter is a check for at least a partial amount of the total money they have coming to them. The victim is told that, in order to receive the rest of the money, they are to deposit the check and wire back as much as several thousand dollars. The victim is often told this is to cover taxes or administrative fees.