Check scam draws money from local business

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A nationwide check scam hits home for a local business when thieves help themselves to its bank account. We first told you about this scam in Sunday's 12 On Your Side Alert. Now it's apparently claimed another victim.

All of this was happening without the business owner's knowledge. Somehow, scammers got a hold of her bank account number and started sending five-thousand dollar checks across the country.

When Nina Whittleton walks down the halls of her business - no detail goes unnoticed. But when she got a call from a woman in California named Pearl, she had no idea what was about to happen.

Pearl had a letter, claiming to be from Reader's Digest and Pepsi. That letter said Pearl won a million dollar prize, and it came with an advance check for $5,009.

What's so that the check appeared to be from Nina's business, and included everything from her bank name, business address, and worst of all...her checking account number.

"That's what made me take a step back was how did they get my banking information?" said Nina.

Nina says the calls then began to come in from several states, from random people wanting to know if the money being offered was legit. Nina said it's not.

But two people, did cash the check, which took the funds right out of Nina's account. With her identity clearly stolen, Nina contacted the police and even tried the number that was included on the letter.

It was just a recording, leaving Nina to wonder how her business got involved in all this. Luckily, her bank recognized the scam and returned all the falsely withdrawn money to her account.

"I know times are hard right now, and although I could've been a victim, I wasn't. I think the real victim, are the people who desperately cash these checks," she said.

The people, who do cash these checks, end up giving away their personal information in an effort to secure the bigger prize. The Better Business Bureau, of course, recommends you question any money that appears too good to be true.

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