Beware of stimulus scams and phony $100 bills

One of our officers recently met with a girl and her mother at a local convenient store.

The mother of the 18-year-old handed over a $100 bill that she was told was counterfeit by the clerk. (Clerks are good at recognizing, mostly by feel, the bills that float around in the area.)

The girl said she was asked by a fellow high-school student if she had change for a hundred. She did and gave him five $20 bills. She later tried to use the hundred which is when she found out she was out of a hundred bucks. I know, I know, we’re checking to see if she’s on the level but I think that she is because we’ve had a rash of counterfeit presentations at some of the local restaurants and convenient stores.

The ones that I’ve seen were not so good to reasonably good. Some passed the water-marker test, but they just didn’t feel right. Anyway, all this leads up to what we all figured would happen and that is the current trend of stimulus money fraud.

Why not? Every other form of payment or financial opportunity has a scam that latches onto it. What better time to con folks out of money than when many of them are down and out. It kind of makes you wonder how much compassion there is out there. Remember Katrina and the price-gouging (^$$^&$*)’s running the hotels up the evacuation route?

The FTC has information out there to give you a sense of when the stimulus money information is fraud.
First, if they are giving you stimulus money, and then ask for a fee, or administrative “up front” money, it’s probably bogus. Some of the new websites have the president’s photo on it.

The FTC says this should be a red flag that something’s not right. President Obama does not endorse stimulus money websites.

Asking you for personal information consistent with sensitive info that you’d use for banking or other financial means is a good opportunity to back out of that site and do some research. Don’t let the thought of financial relief override your common sense. Although it’s a new package, it has the same needs as the other scams: Personal information or money sent.
Regardless how professional looking or seemingly “official” looking a website is, if it’s offering for instance, an easier way to get your stimulus money and then says: “Just send five-dollars to..” then you might have a problem. Stopping and researching bogus websites or claims is not hard. Don’t be fooled by the quick-cash promise.
If you’ve had this experience or know of any sites you think are bogus, send them to me and we’ll check them out.
Now, back to counterfeit money.

A man walked into a convenient store and presented a $100 bill to the clerk. The clerk looked at it and told the man it was counterfeit. The man said “Well okay, give it back and I’ll be on my way.” This is probably the same guy that wanted his pot back from the evidence room after he paid his fine for the misdemeanor possession ticket.

Don’t get fooled on these scams that are floating around. Check your e-mails and websites and DO NOT open the attachments!

Have you received an email from someone claiming to be from the IRS asking for your personal information? Forward it to phishing@irs.gov and delete without opening attachments or clicking on links.
Think you’ve been scammed? File a complaint or get free information on consumer issues at ftc.gov/complaint or call 877-FTC-Help (877-382-4357)

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2 comments Add your comment

Chris Broe

March 26th, 2009
11:05 am

Point of order: It is legal to use a counterfeit bill to tip a Hooter’s girl with implants.

Cubby

March 27th, 2009
2:54 pm

Hooter’s girls have implants? Who knew?