Police say most of the schemes have originated in Canada or Nigeria. In some cases, a person receives a check, claiming the recipient has won a recent sweepstakes. A letter accompanying the check tells the recipient to deposit the check and then forward some of the money back to the scammers in the form of a Western Union money transfer for "processing fees" and taxes.
The recipient later learns that the check that was deposited in the bank is counterfeit and that person is out the money they paid for the money transfer.
Another scam involves people who are searching job Web sites. Recipients are sent letters offering them jobs receiving and processing money orders for local residents. They keep some money and then send the remainder to their "employers" in the form of a Western Union money transfer.
Anyone who gets a similar letter is asked to contact Durham police at 919-560-4440. All cases are being sent to the U.S. Secret Service for investigation.
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