Fake check scam alert

The Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller’s Office recently became aware of a fraudulent check scam in which an individual is promised a job with a charity and receives a check that appears to be created and issued by the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners and signed by the Board Chair and Angelina Colonneso, the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller.

In the email, the sender asks the receiver to deposit the received check into their bank account and then send a picture of the deposit as verification. Following the verification, the sender would further instruct the receiver on how to send a portion of the money to the charity.

Tips on how to spot a fake check

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) shares the following tips on spotting a fake check. Click here for the complete list of tips.

  • Make sure a legitimate bank issued the check. While some counterfeit checks will include a legitimate bank’s name, a fake name is a sure giveaway.
  • Check with the bank that supposedly issued the check to make sure it is real. Make sure you look up the phone number on the bank’s official website and don’t use the phone number printed on the check (that could be a phone number controlled and answered by the scam artist). Next, call the official number and ask them to verify the check. They will likely need to know the check number, issuance date, and amount.
  • Consider how and why you received the check. If someone you don’t know initiated the payment, be skeptical and proceed cautiously. Scammers often communicate with their victims via e-mail or text message. Their communications may contain poor grammar and spelling errors.
  • Official checks usually contain watermarks, security threads, color-changing ink, and other security features. While scammers can sometimes copy these security features, the quality is often poorly executed.

Know how to protect yourself

If you or someone you know recently received a check from an unknown source and you believe it might be fraudulent, here are a few tips on protecting yourself.

  1. Do not communicate with unsolicited e-mail senders.
  2. Do not provide any personal information to an unknown person.
  3. If you do receive a check, do not deposit the check.

Where do I report a fake check?

If you receive a fake check, report it to the Manatee County Sheriff’s office at (941) 747-3011 Ext. 2260. In addition, you can report scams to the Florida Department of Agriculture. Visit https://www.fdacs.gov/Consumer-Resources/Scams-and-Fraud for more information.

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