7 On Your Side: Watch Out For Phony Checks - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

08/07/08 - Tyler

7 On Your Side: Watch Out For Phony Checks

It's a check for a lot of money, and it looks real, but it could end up wiping out your bank account. East Texans are receiving phony checks in the mail, but they have real company and bank names on them, and look legit.

In a 7 On Your Side investigation, one East Texan tells KLTV 7's Courtney Lane about his close call with this scam.

Who wouldn't love to see a check for a huge amount of money in the mail?

Unfortunately, it's so tempting, many Americans have fallen victim.

Jeff McClanahan of Flint, came very close.

"When I first opened it up, I was thinking you know being I've been off work a couple of weeks due to injury, I was thinking that's really going to help, that can really help out with the gas prices and so forth."

The Better Business Bureau of central east Texas has seen this type of scam for years.

Checks mailed out to you with big company and bank names on them, looking real.

"At first there were a lot of people that were just going in and cashing the check and getting the money," said Kay Robinson of the BBB.

But then, they wind up in trouble when the check bounces and you have to pay the bank back all that money. Plus, as in McClanahan's case, the scammers ask you to send them a portion of the money.

"Had I done that it would have really hurt me, hurt me financially."

McClanahan letter claimed he won $39,000 from a lottery drawing.

When he called this number, the man told him they drew names from a list of Wal-mart shoppers and that it was part of a consumer study. We tried to call that same number, but no answer.

McClanahan did the right thing by calling and checking with the bank first.

"It was sure tempting to deposit it in my bank. It would do a lot of good around here," said McClanahan. Luckily, the bank told him the check couldn't be verified.  Still, he wants others to be warned.

"It's wrong. It's wrong to do this to people. There's a lot of people out there that could lose their life savings, their retirement."

"Lots of times, people will argue with us and say 'well you know, I'm going to try it.' Well, you will be sorry," advises Robinson. So, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The Better Business Bureau says if you ever receive anything questionable to call them for verification, and as always, they advise you to be very careful about giving out personal information.

Courtney Lane, Reporting clane@kltv.com

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