Fake checks duping more victims, Better Business Bureau reports

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis man said Wednesday he was tricked into sending a scammer more than $1,600, and a new study from the Better Business Bureau shows he is not the only one to be duped. 

Elwood Bigot said he tried selling his car earlier this summer on for about $3,000. A person who did not give a name showed interest. 

"This person decided to send me a big fat check of $5,060 in the mail," Bigot said. 

The "check" turned out to be fake. It bounced, but not before Bigot followed the scammer's instructions to use the tough-to-trace Western Union and MoneyGram to send back more than $1,600 of the overpayment. 

"I wanted to go to the wall and bang my head in the wall because that was so much money that I will never see again," Bigot said. 

Tim Maniscalo of the Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana said similar scams involving fake-check scams are on the rise. 

"We get phone calls every day," Maniscalo said. 

A recent study from the BBB shows many victims of the fake-check scams are in their 20s. 

"They think once they put that money in their checking in their bank, then it's good," Maniscalo said. "They don't realize it takes some time before that check clears."

Bigot said he called the Indiana Attorney General's Office and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, but police said they do not have a report. 

The BBB said the scams are difficult to investigate and many of the fake checks are sent to the U.S. from another continent. 

The BBB encourages victims of the scam to report it to the bank named on the fake check or to the BBB, the Federal Trade Commission, the Internet Crime Complaint Center, Western Union or MoneyGram

According to the BBB, fake checks are often flimsy and suspicious. They sometimes have a routing number that does not match the bank listed. Scammers often misspell bank names or write an inaccurate bank address on the check.

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