Archive for Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lawrence couple warn others of ‘Trustnet’ scam

Lawrence resident Barbara Bishop is pictured Friday with two fraudulent checks written to her husband, Kenneth Bishop. Bishop received both checks, which are written for amounts exceeding $3,600, accompanied by two fraudulent sweepstakes letters by mail. Bishop would like others to be aware of the scam.

Lawrence resident Barbara Bishop is pictured Friday with two fraudulent checks written to her husband, Kenneth Bishop. Bishop received both checks, which are written for amounts exceeding $3,600, accompanied by two fraudulent sweepstakes letters by mail. Bishop would like others to be aware of the scam.

June 20, 2010

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Lawrence woman discovers scam

A Lawrence woman who received checks asking her to wire money to retrieve the winnings saw through the scam. The attorney general's office says residents should be wary of unsolicited winnings. Enlarge video

Lawrence resident Barbara M. Bishop was already skeptical when she and her husband received two recent letters informing them they had won thousands of dollars in two drawings.

“When I first opened them, I was elated,” she said. “A more than $3,000 check is really nice to receive, and of course it’s too good to be true. You look a little further.”

The letters came with two checks of about $4,000 each that asked Bishop to deposit them and wire $3,000 to pay taxes on their winnings.

Bishop didn’t fall for it, and consumer protection authorities say she did the right thing.

“Wiring money is one of the biggest causes of fraudulent activities that we see,” said Gavin Young, a spokesman for Kansas Attorney General Steve Six.

The two letters Bishop and her husband, Kenneth, a Kansas University professor emeritus of petroleum engineering, received included names and logos of major companies like Wal-Mart, Kohls, Sears, Home Depot, Reader’s Digest, Duke Energy Corp., J.P. Morgan Chase Bank and Trustnet, a British financial company.

The letters said the Bishops were winners in two drawings, including a “Reader’s Digest Lotto,” and they were approved for winnings of $50,000 and $125,000.

Young, with the attorney general’s office, said any time a letter or e-mail offers unsolicited amounts of money, it should raise a red flag.

First of all, consumers run the risk of the checks being fraudulent and being on the hook to repay the funds to the bank.

If they wire money, someone can get access to consumer banking information, he said.

“Any time you receive something like that, it’s a no-win situation for the consumer,” Young said.

Instead of attempting to deposit the check, Bishop performed a Google search and discovered warnings about scam artists using the Trustnet name.

Young said anyone who believes they receive a financial scam letter can contact Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson’s office at 785-841-0211 or the Kansas Attorney General’s consumer protection division at 800-432-2310.

Bishop wants to make sure others who receive similar letters know not to deposit the checks or wire money.

“Don’t trust that good fortune is always going to be a good thing,” she said. “You should be aware that there are scams always. Be sure to check it out thoroughly.”

Comments

maxcrabb 4 years, 11 months ago

Way to be smart! Unfortunately there are plenty of scammers out there ready to take the place of these guys even if they do get caught. The best defense is knowledge and a critical mind to see some things are too good to be true. I also recommend www.consumerist.com

kernal 4 years, 11 months ago

An elderly couple in Topeka (?) got scammed out of $100,000 savings by a similar scan this year. A lot of these scams are coming from overseas.

Kris_H 4 years, 11 months ago

Yes...if you have elderly relatives or friends, or those who might not think clearly for some reason other than age, please caution them about these kind of things. Sometimes they are very subtle. There are also a lot of phone frauds out there.

The main thing to remember is, TANFL. "There ain't no free lunch."

These kind of frauds and predators are despicable.

igby 4 years, 11 months ago

These guys could rake in a fortune doing a BP scam to residents on the coast. Sending them a bogus check, then asking them to donate a portion to another bogus organization. I can dee it coming!

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