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What's in Your Mail?

2/22/17 (Wed)

Walking to the mailbox is one of those daily household chores and many of you look forward to the arrival of the weekly newspaper, a favorite magazine, a Hallmark card from a faraway friend, “just thinking about you,” and the routine utility bill. On occasion, in the stack of unrecognizable mail appears a random envelope with something interesting printed on the front side, such as “open immediately, check enclosed, your reward is inside.”

Those enticing words spark the curiosity in all of us. “What’s my reward, what check could be enclosed, what’s so important that this envelope must be opened?”  You probably open all the pieces of junk mail and then toss or shred and then place it in the garbage. On rare occasion a piece of mail seems just a bit more interesting…something more real, something that happens to make you hold onto it just a bit longer. Can this be real? It looks real. It says it’s real. It’s a check for $1,500. 

In further review of this check, attached is a letter telling you to call the company to cash your check.  Ask yourself a few questions. Have you ever done business with this company? Why would that company be sending you a check if you have never done business with them?  Could you really be that lucky and just randomly receive a check for no apparent reason? Eventually your ship has to come in, right? Before you, run to the bank and call your friends, or book a cruise, do a bit of homework… find out if the check is real.

There are few easy tips to determine if a check is real or fake.

  1. Is the bank logo on the check?

  2. Does it have a routing number and account number on the bottom?

  3. Does the check have any perforated edges or are they all smooth and printed from a computer?

  4. Is the check signed? Does the check have a date and check number?

Before you pick up the phone and call the company, (because once you make the call, the scam begins) do one of two simple things: take the suspicious check to your local bank and ask them for their professional help. They will do their best to help you. Or go to the Federal Reserve Bank services website and enter the nine digit routing number which is located on the bottom left of the check. If the check is real, their routing number will be validated.  Then take the check to your local bank, ask for their assistance, but keep in mind, don’t spend the deposited check until the check has actually cleared your bank. Many of these scammers are very smart.

To learn more visit our website at www.nd.gov/treasurer to find financial literacy resources and detailed fiscal information regarding our State.  Be sure and like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for current information relating to your dollars and our office.