FOND DU LAC, WI - You Ask, We Investigate.
Fake checks that look so real, some banks won't be able to tell it's a scam at first glance. Robin Balthazor of Fond du Lac contacted NBC26 after receiving a suspicious check in the mail. She was convinced it was legitimate until she called the bank listed on the check to investigate.
Harris Bank in Chicago told her the routing number was real, but when she read the last couple of numbers on the account, that's when she was told it was fake. She said, "It used to be fake looking and now it's so real looking."
She received a letter in the mail last week saying she won $150,000 and that this check was just the first payment. Scammers are using the names of real companies, real banks, and real routing numbers. That's how they get you. Robin said "I know people myself that would fall for this."
The Better Business Bureau in Appleton said it's a common scam to get your money. Regional Manager of the BBB, JoEllen Wollangk said "It is so common, they are making money at it. And much of this comes from overseas and they are living the good life overseas."
Wollangk said scammers tell you to deposit the reward check, and wire them part of that money for taxes and fees. She said, "What happens is, if you deposit it into a bank, by law those banks have to release those funds within five days. It often takes the bank a much longer time to realize this is a counterfeit check."
By that time most would have wired the money to the scammers. Robin explained, "Once this is in your account and you send the money, there's no turning back. You're out the money." She said many of her friends and family have also received similar checks but none as real as this. The Better Business Bureau said if you receive a check like this, report it to them immediately.