Troubleshooter: Legit checks?

ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Troubleshooter Diane Wilson

March 15, 2010 3:45:46 PM PDT
As many Triangle residents are waiting for tax refund checks to show up in mailboxes, some are seeing other kind of checks, checks that could cost big bucks.Homeowner Glenn Robbins says he received a check for more than $3,800 in the mail and at first glance it looks good.

"It looks like a real check to me," Robbins said. "It has everything on it."

It looks legit but, Robbins says he is not buying it.

The $3,800 check claims to be just part of a government grant Robbins won - a government grant worth $35,000.

"So we're not talking about chicken feed," he said.

Robbins went online to find out more about the check's claim and ended up e-mailing ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Troubleshooter Diane Wilson.

"I just said this is a scam and thought I'd turn it over to the Troubleshooter," Robbins said.

A closer look at the letter and anyone can see the red flags. The check's from Frisco, Texas and the grant company sending the check is from Fayetteville, Georgia. The Canadian postmark on the envelope also stands out.

"I don't get any mail from Canada," Robbins said.

Another red flag, the top of the letter has grants.gov, which is a legitimate federal grant site, but has no affiliation with the grant.

"I just think when people are desperate out there that the con-artists are out there trying to prey on people's desperation," Robbins said.

Wilson says she has heard from more than two dozen Triangle residents who are getting similar checks in the mail like Robbins.

"They're not all affiliated with government grants, some are secret shopping offers, others claim to be rebate stimulus checks, but what is the same with all of them, they're not legit," Wilson said.

The U.S. government is clear with their grants, people have to apply for them, no one will contact you and say you automatically won one and there are no fees associated with applying.

So if a check mysteriously appears in your mailbox that states you have to cash it and wire the money back to claim your money, rip it up and throw it away.

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