In this incident, the scammer sent a fraudulent cheque with a US-based address to a Moose Jaw business in exchange for services. The address on the check is linked to a legitimate non-profit company in California. The company is aware of the fraudulent activity and has been working with US law enforcement.
The scammer requested the business to deposit the cheque and then immediately transfer a large portion of the amount back to them. The business did not abide by the scammer’s request and there was no money lost.
Police learned that US law enforcement has been looking into several occurrences where these same fraudulent cheques have been discovered in the United States. To their knowledge, this is the first instance in Canada.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, this particular scam is most common within job or employment postings on the internet. The scammer will text or email people who post their resumes online, offering them a job. The scammer will then send a counterfeit cheque with a story about why they need help to cash it. The fraudster will ask you to cash it and return some of the funds to them.
Businesses and residents can protect themselves from cheque fraud by:
- Always verify that the cheque from an organization or person is legitimate.
- Request to speak to the business or person on the phone or in person.
- Don’t make any decisions without carefully researching the offer. Seek independent advice before making a decision.
- Never send your bank account or credit card details to anybody you do not know and trust.
- If you cash the cheque and it turns out to be counterfeit, you could be held accountable for the entire monetary loss by your bank.
- Request the information in writing.
- Watch out for urgent pleas that play on your emotions.
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to this scam, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.
Or, if you believe the scam originated locally, please contact the Moose Jaw Police Service at (306) 694-7600.
Public Information and Strategic Communication Manager
Moose Jaw Police Service
21 Fairford St West