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Scam alert: Are you really part of a lawsuit settlement?

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on Nov. 17, 2006 at 8:37 am with No Comments »
November 17, 2006 8:37 am

The state Attorny General issued a warning yesterday about a new version of a counterfeit check scam.

The new wrinkle: In this scam, victims are told they received restitution from a lawsuit settlement.

Already victimized: A California resident contacted Rob McKenna’s office to say her elderly father received a letter at his San Bruno, Calif., home last month and a check for $2,915. The check bounced shortly after being deposited.

The letter stated: “Court evidence supports the fact that you may have been a victim of fraud — A class action suit was filed against the corporation indicted for fraudulent activity. And thus a declaration of settlement out of court was signed to compensate you of punitive damages. Thereof, you are to receive a legal claim for the amount of $125,000.”

The letter goes on to encourage the recipient to contact the law firm immediately so he/she can get their settlement quickly.

It’s a fake: The letter purportedly comes from “Law Office of Issacs and Weissman PLLC.” The letterhead includes addresses in downtown Seattle and Vancouver, BC.

The AG’s Office has contacted the owner of the Seattle building. The owner confirmed that no law firm by that name is located there. The Canadian address does not exist, the AG’s office reported.

The letter also included a phone number with a Canadian area code. The AG’s office called the number and received an automated message stating that the party could not be reached.

The check: It was written on a legitimate account for a Massachusetts corporation, which manufactures industrial and medical equipment. The company has had at least 25 bogus checks ? but potentially up to 250 ? sent to homes throughout the country. The company’s bank has stopped the fraudulent checks from clearing.

Quote from AG Rob McKenna: “The woman who contacted our office was smart to be suspicious. Counterfeit check scams are on the rise. They take many forms but always end the same way – the check eventually bounces, sometimes weeks after it’s deposited. Meanwhile, the victim is usually told to send additional money as a wire transfer or provide personal information that can be used to commit identity theft.”

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