Computer Crime Research Center


A new scam goes for your money

Date: August 25, 2005
By: Howard Ain

It's one of the newest scams to hit the Tristate and, if you're not careful, there are several ways you too could become a victim. It's something that can cost you thousands of dollars, as a Cleves man learned.

Mike Campisano found money was taken from his bank account when he checked it online.

"I clicked on the check number that was for $1,758, and the check came up and it was not one of my checks. It was from Q-Chex," he said.

The check was written to a person in another state, someone Campisano does not know. He quickly found another such check and immediately called his credit union.

"Over the next week there were seven more checks that came in" said Campisano. "The credit union blocked them; they didn't even take the money out of my account, luckily."

He said the crooks tried to take a total of $20,000 from his account - and they would have succeeded had he not caught it so quickly.

An investigation determined the checks were printed up by crooks in Italy. They were mailed to innocent people in the U.S. who believed they were working for an overseas company.

The crooks put ads in newspapers and on Internet job search Web sites claiming they are looking for employees. They say they want partners in the U.S. to help them clear checks from their American customers.

Campisano said authorities talked with one of the women who tried to remove cash from his bank account.

"She said the people in Italy sent her the check, saying I had bought a security system. They just needed her to run it through her account, keep her 10 percent of the money, and send them 90 percent, which she did. She sent $1,600 to Italy, of good money, and now she's out the total amount."

One police detective who investigated this said this is the easiest way he's ever seen to make money. He said, 'You're not holding a gun to anyone, but you're cleaning out their bank account.'

So remember, these crooks can get you in two ways. First, beware of overseas people advertising for workers to act as their check-cashing representatives. Remember, the checks will come from the Internet company Q-Chex, and they'll be fake.

Second, check your bank account regularly on the Internet. Look for suspicious checks and remember those coming from Q-Chex are often fake. If you spot one, notify your bank immediately and change you account number because the thieves are trying to rob you.

Troubleshooter Howard Ain answers consumer complaints and questions weekdays at 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts on WKRC-TV Local 12. You can write to him at Hey Howard, 12 WKRC-TV, 1906 Highland Ave., Cincinnati 45219.
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