Michael L. Lyle, Chief
56 W. Foster St.
Melrose, MA 02176
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 2, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Melrose Police Warn Residents of Check Scams
MELROSE — Chief Michael Lyle and the Melrose Police Department would like to warn the community about ongoing check scams and remind residents to never cash or deposit checks they receive unexpectedly from a stranger.
Melrose Police have received multiple reports of residents receiving unexpected checks with little to no other instructions. The checks, though they look real, are counterfeit and may arrive by specialized postal means such as Certified Mail that requires a recipient’s signature, making them look official.
Residents who receive an unexpected check in the mail are being advised not to cash or deposit the check. Unfortunately, once deposited or cashed, your bank may require you to return any amounts disbursed when the check bounces, as well as pay a fee for a returned check. Worst of all, if the scammer receives or has access to the image of the cashed check, your endorsement might also reveal your bank account number, which can result in stolen funds.
There are similar check cashing scams out there that pop up from time time time, including a scam where a stranger asks you to accept a check for a large amount of money and to wire them a small portion and keep the rest. The check inevitably bounces, and any money wired to the other party is lost forever and cannot be recovered.
Chief Lyle and the Melrose Police Department are offering the following tips to ensure residents avoid being a check scam victim:
- No actual company will overpay you and ask that you wire the difference back to them or a third party. Be wary of any offer to accept a check or money order in an amount greater than what you are owed.
- Companies do not send checks without some explanation as why the check was issued. Unless you are expecting the check, do not cash it.
- Remember that fake checks may have a legitimate company’s actual account number with the correct bank routing number. To verify the check, call the company directly by using a telephone number you obtain on your own. Do not use any telephone number that appears on the check.
- Check for typos, mismatched names, or pressure to act quickly. It can take up to 10 days for banks to determine that a check is counterfeit. Don’t wire or transfer funds until you have verified with your bank that the check has cleared — even if the bank allows you to withdraw the money sooner.
“These individuals have no intention of giving you anything. Please understand that,” Chief Lyle said. “These are scammers that want access to your personal information and that’s it.”
Anyone who has questions, concerns, or believes they are the victim of a scam, should contact the Melrose Police Department at 781-665-1212.