Dodgy cheques spark scam warning
A LISMORE man attempting to pass off $11,000 in dodgy American Express travellers cheques at a local post office last week received a warm reception from Lismore police as he tried to slip out the door.
The offender realised the ruse was up when his cheques failed to clear an authenticating machine, leaving him with little choice but cut his loses and run. Staff by then had called the police who responded in time to catch him on the way out the door.
The man had answered an ad from Nigerian-based scammers looking for local suckers to cash the counterfeit cheques for 10 per cent of the take.
Richmond Local Area Command crime prevention manager Senior Constable Michael Hogan said fake cheques worth tens of thousands of dollars had been passed in the region in the last fortnight and warned local businesses to be vigilant.
“These are high-quality fakes. Businesses should use the recommended security check-list available from police,” he said. “They need to assess who they’re taking these cheques from and, if they are from overseas, always request a passport.”
Another scam highlighted by Lismore police involved victims selling valuable items over the internet.
They are seduced by scammers who offer to pay the full price, but say they are stuck overseas or offshore and can’t get to a bank.
Through a convincing exchange of emails, victims are lured to a phoney PayPal site where it appears the purchaser has adequate funds, but just needs them to cover costs like custom’s or shipping agent’s fees.
They are then directed to pay through the Western Union money service to ‘avoid fees’.
Snr Const Hogan said any Western Union account going to Nigeria should set off alarm bells.
A Lismore resident was recently scammed out of $4600.