BPD 2-17-12

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 21, 2012

BPD: don’t fall for bogus checks

By Billy Davis

Just in time for tax refund season, scams disguised as money giveaways are coming to mailboxes in Batesville.

The public should be aware of “anything that promises something for nothing,” said Batesville police Detective Paul Shivers.

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Five people have contacted Batesville police since January 1 about various scams, Shivers said. None of the contests are exactly alike but all include a bogus check, he said.

Some scams in the mail include a bogus check for winning a non-existent contest. The hook is that the “winner” is asked to cash the check then return a portion to the “contest sponsor” for fees. If the check is cashed, the “winner” is stuck with the portion that is not returned to the “contest sponsor.”

According to Shivers, some people who received the fake check cashed it — but didn’t send the money to the “sponsor.”

“Some did and some didn’t,” the detective said, but either way cashing the bogus check is considered uttering a forgery, a felony. Some victims of the check scam were set to appear in Batesville Municipal Court this week, he said.

There is little local law enforcement can do about the scammers. Shivers said the contests seem to come in waves and most are concocted out of the country — far from the reach of a detective in Batesville.