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Check Scams

Fake checks that are “awarding” money for a non-existent lottery are making the rounds in Batesville and Panola County.

Police: targets of check cashing scam want money

By Billy Davis

Batesville police, from time to time, have to deal with con jobs, like the always-reliable pigeon drop, which requires the targeted victim to add a small amount of money for a promise of more money.

It sounds like an unlikely ploy, but scams prey on people’s trust – and their greed, too.

Last week a check-cashing scheme caught the attention of police, and this one came with a twist.

This most recent scheme begins when the prey receives a “check” in the mail, announcing that the person has won a lottery.

(Never mind that they never entered a lottery – that’s where the greed part kicks in.)

Along with the lottery check come instructions: after cashing the check, return a portion for a processing fee to receive the full amount of the lottery winnings.

The “winner” is also instructed to keep a portion of the cash – sort of a down payment toward the much bigger winnings.

According to police, here’s the twist: the most recent victims are telling authorities they want to cash the fraudulent checks.

“One woman was throwing a fit,” said Detective Paul Shivers. “She said she ought to have the right to cash it.”

Shivers said the woman was instructed that the check is fake, and if she knowingly cashes the fraudulent check, she is responsible for repaying the $4,950 check – for a lottery she never won.

But she still argued for her “right” to cash the check.

The detective said a second victim is “begging” for police to return the check – which has been kept by police as evidence of a crime.

Luckily, local banks have contacted police before cashing the checks, he said.

Shivers said he hopes to warn people about the check-cashing scheme that will make them a victim. He also wanted to warn them about the consequences of making a local bank a victim, too.

“You will have to repay the money,” he said.