BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. – The Butte County District Attorney is warning residents about a new financial scam.
The scam consists of attempting to have a person cash a bogus check they receive in the mail and forward a portion of it in cash back to the sender.
District Attorney, Mike Ramsey, said an Oroville resident reported receiving what appeared to be an official-looking business check, the sender's address was listed as "Bridge City, Texas." The check was made payable to the resident for the amount of $2,450 from a health insurance company in Michigan.
The letter instructed the recipient to provide their full name, the check number on the check, and dollar amount to a phone number with an area code of “(219).” Ramsey said the letter further instructed the recipient to “deposit the check via ATM or electronically."
The final instructions indicated the recipient was to send a photo of the deposit receipt to three phone numbers with different area codes and an email address listed in the letter, according to the DA. The letter ended with the handwritten name “Isabel” from the “Payment Secure Department.”
Ramsey said his investigators determined the account holder listed on the check, “Beaumont Health,” in Michigan was not aware of this scam and did not authorize this check. Investigators say they determined “Comerica Bank and Trust,” listed on the check, did not have any affiliation with Beaumont Health, meaning the check was fake.
Investigators were able to contact the scammers by calling one of the phone numbers provided in the letter. Investigators say they pretended to be the recipient of the check and letter. The scammer instructed investigators to send a photo of a deposit receipt, proving the check that had been sent had been deposited.
Investigators say they learned through their conversation with the scammer that recipients of the checks and letters were told they are being “paid” to have an advertising decal installed or “wrapped” on their vehicle. According to the DA's office, the scammer told investigators that recipients would be paid $600 of the total dollar amount listed on the check to simply drive around with the decal on their vehicles. The scammer told investigators a “decal installer” would arrive soon to install the decal on the recipient’s vehicle.
The scammer would not provide additional information to investigators upon being asked and was repetitive in his instructions. The scammer also instructed investigators to download the “Cash App” application on a cellular phone and send the remaining money from the check to a username provided by the scammer.
Anyone experiencing this type of fraudulent activity should contact call the Butte County District Attorney’s Fraud Hotline at 866-DA FRAUD (866-323-7283).
Action News Now asked Ramsey for a copy of the letter that the resident had received. It can be viewed below