Durham police warn of check scam, offer tips to avoid fraud
Posted December 20, 2011
Durham, N.C. — Durham police warned Tuesday about a stolen check scam that has victimized several people in recent weeks.
Two people have been arrested and charged with fraud in connection with several cases, but police asked that people be on alert for potential scams.
In recent cases, victims were approached by people claiming to need cash for an emergency. They have told victims they need the money to repair a broken-down car, pay for a room for the night or to help with personal issues, police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said.
The suspects have then told the victims that they have a check, but have been unable to cash it. They've convinced the victims to either cash the check or deposit it in exchange for cash.
The victims have later learned that the check was stolen and that the bank wants the money returned, Michael said.
Timothy Jones, 22, and Tydricka Lewis, 22, both of 1024 Kent St., were each charged with common law forgery, common law uttering, identity theft, obtaining property by false pretenses and soliciting a felony in connection with several cases of this type, Michael said.
The North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety urges people to take the following steps to avoid being victims of fraud:
- Never allow anyone to watch while you use your ATM card or code.
- No one, not even a police officer or bank employee, should ever ask you to withdraw money from your account or provide your ATM PIN. If they do, alert a bank manager or police officer.
- Do not allow salespeople to intimidate you or talk you into anything.
- If a deal or money-making plan cannot wait for you to do some research, pass up the opportunity.
- Read and understand any contract before signing.
- Deal only with local businesses you know.
- Verify door-to-door salesmen with law enforcement or the Better Business Bureau.
- Do not enter a contest or accept free gifts or prizes unless you clearly understand all of your obligations.
- Never pay for something you did not order or do not want. Simply refuse to accept delivery or make payment.
- Buy insurance from someone you know and trust, preferably someone who is local and has an excellent reputation. Buy only what you need and can afford.
- Never give credit card numbers over the telephone unless you initiate the action with a reputable company. In the wrong hands, your credit card number can be used fraudulently against you.