PRIMERA, Texas – Authorities are investigating a money scam targeting Cameron County residents. According to Primera Police, a letter with a fake check is being sent to elderly people stating they’ve won money. Police say innocent people can be charged with fraud if the check in this letter is cashed.
Authorities say the name of a well-known marketing company is being used by scammers to make residents deposit a fake check, then send cash to a specific address. Primera police are now investigating after a resident attempted to cash the check.
Chief Manuel Trevino, Primera Police Department, “She received a letter from Publisher’s Clearing house that she had won $450,000 but part of that letter she also received a check for $7,600. She went to one of the local banks here and deposited the check. When she was waited a couple days for the check to clear due to the amount, she was notified by the bank the check was fake.”
Publisher’s Clearing House is a legitimate marketing company with sweepstakes and prize-based games. But Chief Trevino says scammers in New York are using the company’s name to fool the elderly. Asking them to keep $1,200 and send the rest to an address in New York.
“The person that actually deposits the check, he or she himself unintentionally are committing fraud by turning in the fake check. Once that money is given to them and you send it out, now you’re responsible for it when the bank realizes it was a fake check.” Says the chief.
According to Trevino, the bank has been receiving numerous amounts of these checks already. He adds local authorities are working with New York police to catch the scammers. Police encourage residents to call local law enforcement immediately if they receive this letter.