SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – When the holidays get close, scammers start targeting more victims. And this year, they’re getting creative.
“I get a bunch of phone calls — the IRS coming after you and stuff like that — but I’ve never gotten a check,” said Joseph Felegie. He contacted WSAV after he got one in the mail for $4,700.
Felegie says the check was written by someone posing as an insurance company in Kansas. The scammers included a note that instructed Felegie to text a Cleveland, Ohio phone number and give out his personal information.
“I’m not expecting anything from an insurance agency and that’s what caught my eye,” he said.
Instead of texting the number, he looked up the number of the company and called them. It turns out, the company is real and the check is not.
“I think it’s sad,” he said.
Patti Lyons, the president of Senior Citizens Inc., says scams happen all the time in the Coastal Empire. Most of the time, they target older adults and happen over the phone.
“I wish there was a way to fix it and we can’t. Because once it’s done, it’s done,” she said. She says scammers usually appeal to your emotions. If you get a call, she says to take a deep breath and think about your next steps.
“I really wish people who are doing this would put that brainpower to good instead of evil,” said Lyons.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), fake check complaints increased over the last three years.
If you get something similar in the mail, the BBB says:
- Check for misspellings
- Check the routing number and confirm it is correct (you can often do this online)
- Make sure the check number matches the line at the bottom
- Call the company directly
The BBB says fraudulent check scams usually come in the form of mystery shopper offers or prizes. And most of the time, the victims are young.
If you experience a scam, report it to the Better Business Bureau or reach out to Senior Cititzens Inc. for help. Their number is (912) 236-0363.