BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — The check in the mail is not from you but sent to your mailbox, email or even by text message.
Before cashing one, Problem Solver Pete Knutson introduces us to a Broken Arrow man with a warning about what happened to him when he did.
It sure sounds good and straightforward enough. Drive around town with a decal stuck on the side of your vehicle advertising for a company and get $600 bucks a week. It is too good to be true.
Randy Clark found that out the hard way, the expensive way, and yes, Randy admits the embarrassing way.
"I'm not an idiot," Clark said. "Yeah, it makes me mad."
It makes him a little emotional and left him shaking his head. The $2,500 check he received in the mail looked real and legit enough. Even to the bank teller, apparently.
"I was a little skeptical, but I took it down to the bank," Clark said. "They did deposit it, funds were available the next day. I thought I could make a little money, you know?"
Especially since Clark said, he's on disability and a fixed income with a growing and always eating teenager to raise. So when a second similar check arrived, he took it to the bank as well.
Each time, before he could use his truck as a mobile billboard, the scammer said Randy needed to send some money back through a cash app or gift card.
"Of course, I had to take some out for the installer, a decal installer, like a dummy, I did," Clark said.
$2,500 bucks in all, Clark said he sent the scammer only to find out a few days later those checks were a fraud. Hooked by a scam and now caught in a financial catch 22.
"Then I got a letter from my bank saying they were closing my account because of fraudulent and $2,500 in the hole."
Clark is not able to open another bank account anywhere until he pays the money back. All the while, more scam attempts hit him every day.
He can be a secret shopper, and he's a sweepstakes winner, too, he's told. He can get texts, calls, and more checks in the mail, all out of the blue. Clark said it's all tempting chances to make some green.
"I guess I got on some sucker list, and now, they're just pounding me with these things," Clark said.
Before getting disabled on his aviation job, Clark said he could fix anything with wings and wheels. But he can't fix this. Still, even with little money, he has a big heart.
"I hope this helps someone else because I don't like to see people taken advantage of, and I'm usually not that gullible," Clark said.
Clark wishes his bank warned him when he deposited those checks. But they can look real to anyone.
By law, the Federal Trade Commission said banks have to make funds available quickly, usually within two days. But it can take much longer for banks to figure out those checks are fake. By then, the scammer has any money you sent them. And like Clark, you're stuck paying the money back to the bank.
For information about reporting a fraud to the FTC, click here.
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