Sheriff's Office Sees Increase In Mail Scams

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By Catalina Trivino

Think YOU can spot a mail scam? A lot of people think they know the warning signs -- but The Butler County Sheriff's Office says scam artists are hitting the county... and spotting them isn't as easy as you'd think...

Sheriff's deputies say they're seeing a large increase in mail scams. And if you're not careful, you could be a scam artist's target.

Chances are in the past few weeks, people in Butler County may have seen one of these: a notice in the mail that deputies say looks like the real deal.

This one says you've won $246,214.34. It asks you to cash in a check for $3,895.66... and to wire $3,000 back to pay taxes.

 

Alabama News Network showed that check to area residents to get their reaction. While the check was voided, we asked to see how real it looked.

"Yes! It looks like a real check!" Said one local woman.

The Butler County Sheriff's Office says it's a problem that's on the rise. Alabama News Network also spoke to several banks in the area. While they chose not to be on camera, some of them were familiar with the alleged scam -- and they say dozens have come in with the notice.

Sheriff Kenny Harden says you and the bank can both lose money if you send a check to someone who turns out to be a scam artist.

 

"That's on any scam... if they ask you to wire money to them. If you won some money then why would you have to wire money to them?" Said Harden, who says scammers generally target the elderly and young people -- but he says he's seeing an increase of those targets as people on fixed income.

"They will convince you to go and get a moneygram and send it to them. And the problem we've got that I talked to the FBI and different agencies throughout on moneygrams is whenever they give you a tracking number, even though you're wiring it to [for example], Jacksonville, Florida, they can pick that money up anywhere," Said Harden.

Harden says that some of these notices even have a legitimate company's logo on it. He says if you're questioning whether something you've received in the mail is a scam, you need to take it to your local sheriff's office.

The sheriff's office says another thing to watch out for is where the mail is coming from. Usually, it shows it's from out of state or even from another country.

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