Hark, the holiday scammers steal.
An Illinois sheriff’s department issued a warning to citizens that is being echoed across the country. Some are receiving “acceptance letters” and an official looking check, purported to be from Walmart, telling the recipient they have been selected to participate in a Quality Control program. The letter claims that once you deposit the check, you can start shopping and participating in the program.
“Once you deposit the check into your account, the scammers drain your account. Do not deposit this check,” the sheriff’s department warning states. “If you receive this letter in the mail, throw it away.”
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According to a copy of the scam letter posted online, the letter looks legitimate with phone numbers, an email address, and even a website. It has a breakdown of what the check covers and lists responsibilities of those participating in the program, which includes two survey assignments and evaluation reports. It also has instructions as to how to deposit the check, and that is how police say the scammers gain access to checking accounts.
The letter tells the victim they have to “activate the check before depositing it. They are instructed to call and use a pre-determined user ID and password and then deposit the check. Once the check is put into a checking account, thieves are able to hack the account and steal everything, police said.
This scam is similar to a mystery shopper scam that was prevalent a few years ago. Please notify local police if you receive suspicious letters or unfamiliar checks.
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