my husband recieved a letter from Links Corp in Branchburg ,NJ on Friday. They said we had won a web database lottery. He called the number 1-XXX-XXX-XXXX. THe man Alex Munata said to deposit the cashiers check they sent for $2,800.15 for tax purposes. The tax was $1750.00. he was to call the guy back on this wed. and he would tell us how to pay the taxes. We deposited the check today. We became curious about it and I started looking up about this on the internet. It looks like this is a terrible scam. What should I do? Will my bank still have the check? Can I just tell them about it and then call the police?Thank you for any help Ms Emmons in TN
BBB and the internet
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. My goal is to answer your question completely and thoroughly and to provide excellent service. You are correct in identifying this as a scam. Specifically, this scammer is operating a variation of what is commonly known as an "advance fee" or "419" scam, in which individuals are contacted and informed of sweepstakes winnings and eventually told that they need to pay a "processing fee," tax, or bank transfer fee in order to receive their winnings.This particular scam is actually a hybrid "lottery scam" and "fake check scam." Fake check scams essentially exploit a loophole in the banking system, which is that banks are required by law to make the funds from most checks available to the account holder immediately, even before they have verified the legitimacy of the check. Scammers know this and so draft fake checks to victims and then give the victims some reason for why they need to immediately "pay back" some amount from the check.See here for more information regarding this type of scam: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt022.shtmSee also: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/phonefraud/sweepstakes.shtmlSee here for an FTC warning on fake check scams: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre40.shtmAs noted above, the check you have cashed is not legitimate. This is not your fault, and your intent was obviously not to deceive your bank, but an individual in your circumstance must notify your bank that the check is not legitimate immediately. They will remove the funds and take all steps necessary to preserve the security of your account.Since you received this check through the mail, this scam would qualify as mail fraud, which is a federal offense. Accordingly, an individual in your circumstance should report this scam to your local FBI field office. See here for more information: http://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/You can also submit a claim with the Federal Trade Commission's bureau of consumer protection here: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/ In the mean time, you would be extremely wise to ignore all future communications from this scammer, as nothing productive can come from continued correspondence. Your account details should remain safe and if no money has been sent, no harm will likely arise from this ordeal.I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the best.If you do not have any further concerns, I would be very grateful if you would give my answer a positive rating and click submit, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you. If you have any additional concerns that you would like me to address, please feel free to let me know by hitting the REPLY or CONTINUE CONVERSATION button and I will be more than happy to continue assisting you.Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.Thank you and very kindest regards.
I hit wrong face
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Attorney with significant fraud prevention experience.