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VPD warns of new check scam

By Gheni_Platenburg
May 29, 2010 at 12:29 a.m.


Tips

You can't win money from sweepstakes or lotteries that you did not enter.

No awards company will ask you to send money back to them.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't true.

Investigate companies and banks prior to cashing checks. Call the bank on the check and ask if the company is legit.

Avoid foreign telemarketers that promise money from international banks.

Contact your local Crime Prevention Unit with questions at 361-485-3808.

Source: Victoria Police Department

The Victoria Police Department is warning residents to avoid becoming the next victim of a check scam involving a Texas company.

Recently, Brenham-based Germania Insurance Company issued a warning via its website about a check scam using its name.

"Germania's home office has received numerous calls from both non-insureds and policyholders regarding a fraudulent check scam," the warning said. "This scam is not directed to our policyholders, but to individuals across the United States."

According to the warning, people have received letters saying they could be eligible to win a large sum of money. Included with the letter is an enclosed counterfeit check.

Recipients are supposed to deposit the check, which has been designed to look like a Germania-issued check, and mail a money gram or certified Western Union check to an assigned address to cover "taxes' that are due on the winning amount.

The mailing address is outside of the U.S.

Victoria Police Sgt. Felix Appelt said this is just another scam in a long line of current scams that Victoria residents should be knowledgeable about.

"Several scams are going around Victoria where citizens receive checks which they "won" in sweepstakes drawings, out of town lotteries, etc.," said Appelt. "The problem is that the check is a fake and once the bank that cashed the check realizes that it is a fake, they then charge your account for the total amount cashed."

Even if victims do not spend the money they initially deposit, Appelt said they could still be out some money.

"The person may be able to give back their 'winnings' if they did not spend it yet, but are unable to give back the fees and taxes amount that they already sent to the sender," said Appelt.

People who receive a check of this nature are advised to contact Crime Stoppers.

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