Check Scam

by Christa Lollis

Getting paid to shop may sound like a great deal but it may be too good to be true. Some East Texans are receiving a letter along with a check that says it's from Huntington State Bank. The letter tells recipients they've been chosen to be secret shoppers. The check is for almost $5000. "We were notified by the people of Huntington State Bank here in Lufkin that their name had been used in this scam and they wanted everybody to know that these are not legitimate checks and watch out for this scam," Lt. Young with Lufkin police explains.

The letter says to use the money to check the quality of local stores. The catch, they want some of the money sent back once you've cashed the check. Young says that's when the trouble starts. "If you get an unsolicited check you should be very suspicious right off the bat. In this particular case the check has a 1-800 number on the top of it but the 1-800 number is answered by someone who says Huntington State Bank and then you get a recording. So, take the time to actually look up the real bank." The checks sent out for this scam are cashier's checks which is the first red flag. "The scammers like to use checks because people don't deal with these everyday and they don't really know exactly what they look like or what they're supposed to look like because each institution uses a different look," Young said.

So far more than 100 people around the country have cashed these checks. But Lufkin police want Huntington State Bank account holders to know they're money is safe. "No information from Huntington State Bank has been compromised. No customers accounts have been tapped into. None of that info has been released or compromised in any way. It's completely safe." Now the FBI and FDIC are investigating and police are warning East Texans so they don't become victims.