Eau Claire (WQOW) – A popular scam is becoming more common, scheming local people out of thousands of dollars.
Eau Claire police Thursday confiscated 680 fake checks and money orders from one unnamed location. The documents were valued at more than $716,000. "Those who are trying to scam you out of your hard earned money are becoming very good at it," says Eau Claire Police Officers Jason Kaveney. Because the investigation is open, where the checks and money orders were taken from won't be released until next week.
The fraudulent papers are thought to be part of a check and money order cashing scam. Keveney admits, "The victims in these cases are everyday citizens in our community." Police say an example of the scam is when a check is sent out after an item is sold on the internet, for more than what was agreed to. The person who sent the check would then inform the other they made a mistake, ask that person to cash the check, keep a certain amount of it, and mail back the rest.
"(The money orders) look legitimate," says Detective Clayton Wanta. "Criminals are getting better and better at reproducing these documents, we're finding that out with currency, we're finding that out with money orders." If cashed, the money would be in someone's account for maybe two weeks until the fake is caught by the federal government. "What people need to realize is once you sign the back of the check you take ownership of it," says Kaveney. Police say the one who signs the check is on the hook for the entire amount, and more if any is spent.
According to police, the one's behind the scheme are incredibly difficult to track down and the one's taken advantage of shouldn't hold out hope. "The reality is, they probably won't see the money", says Kaveney.
If you're unsure about the legitimacy of a monetary transaction, you're asked to call Eau Claire police at (715) 839-4982.