Worthless-cheque scam surfaces in Bay

By Doug Laing


Police in Hawke's Bay are waiting to see if anyone has been taken in by an international scam in which tempting four-figure cheques are delivered in the mail.

They have been received in the mail by two women in Napier.

Eastern Police crime prevention officer Paul Miller says the cheques are worthless forgeries: "Duds."

Each woman received a "Lloyds TSB" cheque, made out for $4650, and a letter asking them to deposit the cheques into their accounts, advise the sender via email that it had been done and to await more instructions.

The cheques, dated December 24, were said to be the women's "first assignment payment" cheques, stemming from inquiries each made in answer to a newspaper advertisement offering work-from-home employment.

Mr Miller said neither woman applied for the work, but their emailed inquiries were followed by apparently automated replies advising they had the job.

Two others had contacted police last month, concerned about the advertisement and their belief it was a scam.

Mr Miller said if the scam followed "the usual course", anyone who went ahead and deposited the cheques would probably then be advised to electronically transfer some money back to the sender. The forged cheque would be dishonoured, and the account holder who banked it would be responsible.

"Whichever way, that person is the victim," he said. "Our advice is don't even bother sending or opening the emails."


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