SPOKANE, Wash. - On the surface it may seem like a great opportunity - you get a check in the mail, spend some free cash and help a business improve its customer service - but there's a catch.
A local woman suspected the offer was too good to be true. She checked with her bank to confirm her suspicion, then stopped by the KXLY studios to warn others about the scam.
Digging through her mailbox Friday morning, Rose Manning found a letter she wasn't expecting.
"I opened it and I thought wow, that's good money there."
A check for $1,370, to be exact.
"My son picked it up and looked at it and said 'you need to take this to the bank,'" Manning said.
The check came with a letter, claiming to be from Walmart, with step by step instructions.
"It wanted me to cash the check or put the check into my checking account, and then it wanted me to buy $70 in things and later on they want you to buy $1,000 worth of gift cards," Manning said.
And once she bought the gift cards, there was another thing to do.
"Scratch the code off and snap a picture of that and along with the receipt and send it or email it to them."
She took the check to US Bank where a teller broke the news - it was a scam.
Cpl. Teresa Fuller with Spokane Police said she has seen the gift card hoax before.
"Biggest red flag here is receiving an unsolicited check in the mail," Fuller said.
A deposited fake check will bounce, sometimes days later. The money will be taken from your account.
"The scammers get your money and then you get taken," Fuller said.
In most cases, the money will be gone for good.
Fuller said, "These scams come from all over the country so it is really hard for us to trace back any of that stuff and the scammers know that so a lot of times they get away with it."
That's why SPD wants you to be careful, also skeptical. Police said scam victims can also be charged with forgery for trying to cash a fake check.
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