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City Manager Report

Posted on: September 1, 2020

Beware of Check Overpayment Scam

Scam Alert graphic

Police are warning residents of an overpayment scam that has victimized at least two Las Cruces residents.

Investigators learned that at least two Las Cruces residents received electronic correspondence that appeared to be from a firm that advertises for major vendors, such as Dr. Pepper and Rockstar Energy Drink. The correspondence suggested the recipient can earn money by placing advertisement decals on their vehicles.

The two Las Cruces victims received checks that were described as payment for the advertising and funds to purchase decals from a supposed third party.

In one of the local cases, the check was for $5,200 from a company claiming to be in Redlands, California. The $5,200 check was said to be a deliberate overpayment and instructed the victim to deposit the check. The victim was further instructed to send four U.S. Postal Service money orders, each in the amount of $1,000, to an individual in Pennsylvania to purchase the decals.

Several days after the $5,200 check was deposited, the bank notified the victim that the check was fraudulent and worthless. By that time, the victim’s bank account was debited the $4,000 that was willingly sent to the perpetrator of the scam.

A second Las Cruces victim lost $3,000 through a similar scam.

Attempts to trace the fraudulent transactions can prove to be difficult, if not impossible. Even if a perpetrator is identified and charged, obtaining reimbursement for lost funds is not guaranteed.

Anyone who receives such a proposal to advertise for a company should refrain from falling victim to such a scam. Remember: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is not true.

Additional tips:

  • Do not provide any personal or financial information to any unsolicited contact.
  • Do not return email, phone calls, or messages to anyone you do not know.
  • Do not send funds from a checking or bank account to anyone you do not know.
  • Do not cash checks or money orders from anyone who does not know.

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