MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - State officials are warning that scammers are sending fraudulent checks that claim to be from the State of Alabama Department of Finance.
Attorney General Steve Marshall and State Comptroller Kathleen Baxter issued a consumer alert about the checks Friday, saying they are sent usually by priority mail throughout the United States. The recipient is told where to send a certain amount of the funds, and various reasons are given to explain why the check was sent:
- A sign-on bonus for a job that was applied for through the internet
- Payment for agreeing to put advertising stickers, logos, or wraps on one’s vehicle
- An inheritance from a recently-deceased family member
Marshall and Baxter advise anyone who receives an unexpected check from the State of Alabama to seek verification by calling the State Comptroller’s Office at 334-242-7050. They also offer these cautionary tips:
- Be on guard for anything that seems suspicious. The check, as well as the story, could be fake. Do not cash a check from someone you do not know.
- Fraudulent checks may look legitimate. It is important to verify with your bank that the check has cleared before spending the money. Under federal law, banks allow funds you deposit to be made available quickly. Just because you can withdraw the money does not mean the check is good. A fake check scam could cost you thousands of dollars.
- Do not wire money to someone you do not know. Wiring money is like sending cash and cannot be recovered.
- Report suspicious checks or money orders to your bank as soon as possible.
- You may seek advice from the Attorney General’s Consumer Interest Division by calling toll-free 1-800-392-5658.
According to Marshall, no funds have been withdrawn from State of Alabama accounts due to fraudulent checks.