Crooks getting better at faking checks

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - We've warned you before about those fake sweepstakes checks that come in your mail. Well, crooks are getting even better at making those checks, so good, the Better Business Bureau says they're fooling banks.

Katie Karim of Henrico thought she really won money. The letter she received said she won a store's sweepstakes and needed to claim almost $150,000.

The first installment check looked so real, she dialed the Canadian number as instructed in the letter.

"And he said 'Ok, go cash it. Can you cash it today?' And he said 'After you do that, call me right back. You have to pay the taxes on it.' And it was like $1,800," said Karim.

Katie Karim looked up Harleysville Mutual Insurance, noted on the check and called them.

"She said, 'Ok that's gotta be a scam. Let me transfer you.' She transferred me over to this one lady and she said, 'Oh my gosh, not another one,'" said Karim.

According to the BBB a lot of the times these fake checks are real, they're just stolen and reprinted with your name attached to thousands of dollars on the check.

"These checks are very good. All it takes is a laser printer and some check stock and you can just do whatever you feel like doing," said Tom Gallagher of the BBB.

The methods to these scams are usually the same. Cash the check, send part of it back for payment of taxes or handling costs, and keep the rest.

Then two weeks later, the check will bounce and the bank will come after you.

"Just stay away from these things. Don't do them. If you get a check in the mail, it's trash, it just doesn't work that way," said Gallagher.

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