Consumer Alert: New fake check fraud schemes in the ArkLaTex

Near-miss: Craigslist car listing uncovers scam

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A consumer alert this week involves innocent victims unwittingly depositing fake checks into their bank accounts with the promise of making money. And all they're instructed to do in return is send a little of the cash back to pay fees.

On Wednesday of this week it was police in Texarkana, Texas who gave a warning about a scheme in which victims receive a letter inviting them to make extra money as a paid mystery shopper in the area.

Just one day later a Shreveport man has contacted KSLA News 12 saying he was the target of a somewhat similar kind of fraud scheme.

Phillip Swift said he just wanted to sell his daughter's car on Craigslist a few weeks ago. That's when someone named "Alex" texted and offered to buy it.

Days later a cashier's check came in the mail. "And I opened it and this is what was there. And the amount is almost double what we had agreed upon," recalled Swift.

Swift said the extra two grand seemed like far more money than what it would likely cost to have the car transported to Alex.

Then Alex began texting instructions, and telling Swift to pay the mover when he arrived to pick up the car. "He said cash the check, get the cash and I'll call you immediately."

So Swift went to his bank. "Right off the bat my banker said, Mr. Swift, this is a fraudulent check."

Swift told us when he tried to confront Alex with the news Alex never texted back.

While it appears Swift avoided become the victim of fraud, he's still worried a bit. That's because as he had been texting back and forth with that supposed buyer, Swift gave him his personal address. Now he hopes that doesn't come back to haunt him down the road.

Local Better Business Bureau President Andy Fisher urges anyone who receives a check, with instructions to mail some of the cash back, to go to their bank right away.

"And tell them to send it for collection and that way you're not going to lose any money," said Fisher.

Swift is now working with Shreveport Police on the case and said he just hopes others hear his story and don't fall victim to fraud.

Fisher told us his office has not seen a fraud scheme like this in recent years. But he added that various fraud schemes come and go in cycles.

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