MIAMI, FL -- If you think you'll never be the target of a con-artist, think again. You might not be the victim but even 2 Wants To Know gets bogus emails, checks and letters sent to us. It's their job to scheme people out of money, and no matter how much you have, they will go after you.
Scott Israel received two bogus checks in the mail. He knows a lot of people who work in law enforcement because he's the sheriff of Broward County, Florida. He said, "When the detectives looked at it they immediately said they were bogus checks. [...] I knew right away, these companies didn't owe me money. I guess, you're kind of offended even as the sheriff to find out even these crooks say I'm not impervious to the these scams."
The con-men obviously chose the wrong target. And that's the point. All of us are vulnerable to schemes and scams.
U.S. Postal Inspector Blanca Alvarez said, "There is no legitimate reason for somebody to send you a check or money order in the mail and ask you to send money back to them."
There may be no reason, but it's a typical way con-artists are luring victims into several schemes including the so-called mystery shopper scam.
Alvarez explained, "They ask you to take a check or money order they send you and deposit it into your own bank account." Then, you're asked to purchase an item, complete the mystery shopper questionnaire about the experience, and wire back the remaining money from the original check. But Alvarez said that's when the bad news comes. "A few weeks later you find out that the check or money order you deposited to your account was counterfeit."
So, victims are on the hook for the entire amount lost. She wanted to remind consumers never to wire money to someone you don't know because once you wire the money, it's gone and it's almost impossible to get back.
Sheriff Israel said, "If these individuals are going to send a check or try to commit a scam and the victim is going to be the sheriff of Broward County – they will do it to anybody."
Postal inspectors say checks and counterfeit money orders are often sent through the mail – so be on the lookout for both. If you think you've received one, you can contact U.S. Postal Inspectors. Click here to file a complaint. You can also contact postal inspectors by phone. Just call 1-877-876-2455 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in all time zones.