Scammers send bogus check to police chief
GATES, N.Y. - Just in time for the holidays, scam artists are targeting your mailbox. They are sending out what appear to be legitimate checks for thousands of dollars.
In Gates, they addressed one check to the wrong person - Police Chief James VanBrederode.
It was a special delivery just days before Christmas.
“There was a check made out to the chief of police for $2,400,” said VanBrederode.
The check was delivered right to the police station. The letter instructs VanBrederode to cash the check, keep $100 for himself and give the rest to a courier. The problem is, you're on the hook with your bank when the funds don't come through.
Chief VanBrederode texted the scammer who replied, "The truck driver will call you to schedule pick up. Do you have a Walmart nearby?"
"I think it shows they have no fear, they're not concerned about being caught,” said VanBrederode.
He isn't alone in receiving a bogus check. Dominick Fraczek of West Irondequoit called 13WHAM after he got one for $3,000. He too was skeptical.
"I had my doubts. My wife wanted me to deposit it right away. She goes, ‘Oh, Christmas bonus!’” said Fraczek.
Fraczek's check came priority mail, too, with a letter saying he had been selected as a secret shopper. He was urged to cash the check and send money back. Instead, he called the bank and confirmed it was a fake. He doesn't want others to fall victim.
"I'm just worried about more people not realizing about it and then cashing these checks, especially around Christmas,” said Fraczek.
Chief VanBrederode says it serves as a reminder that scam artists never stop and anyone is at risk.
"You need to be careful. It's consumer beware. It's that old saying, there's no such thing as free money,” said VanBrederode.
At last check, the scam artists wanted VanBrederode to wire money to someone in Indiana, instead of meeting a courier. He says it's very hard to track down those behind these fraudulent checks.