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If it looks too good to be true, it probably is

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Becky Barnes,
Editor
bbarnes@cynthianademocrat.com

Mostly scammers will prey on the elderly. However, recent reports indicate that the young are not exempt.
Sgt. Eric Kendall with the Cynthiana Police Department was recently involved in an investigation where a Cynthiana woman applied for a job online. It was work-at-home job type employment. She was advised that she would receive a work package and she was to follow the instructions included.
When the package arrived, it included a check for $3,800. She was to deposit $3,300 and send $500 back to the supposed employer. The balance was hers to purchase a computer and office supplies needed for the job.
Before the Cynthiana woman made any deposit or even endorsed the check, she called local law enforcement.
“The check looks legit,” Kendall said. “It was written on PNC bank and had an endorsement line on the back.”
It wasn’t legit.
Kendall said any time someone is asked to deposit an amount and send some of it back, it’s likely a scam.
Harrison County Sheriff Shain Stephens agrees that a legitimate employer is not going to send you money and then want some of it returned.
“Why would they?” he said. “If they already have the money, why not just send what they need for office set up rather than ask for some of it back.”
Kendall said that unfortunately this is not the only scam that’s ripping into people’s savings.
There is an IRS scam where the caller says they need money right now for a screw-up that occurred three or so years ago. The victim is told to send $500 immediately to a specific account to keep in good standing with the IRS.
Kendall said the IRS is not going to call you. Their contact with you will be by certified mail.
Stephens said a few years ago a former IRS worker from Cynthiana received one of those calls. She talked about how realistic the call was.
“From someone who worked there, it was very concerning,” Stephens said.
He said that anytime you receive a call or mail that wants you to deposit an amount and send some back or to purchase gift cards and forward them, there should be a red flag.
An attempt was recently made to get money from an individual in Cynthiana who had purchased a security package for his home computer. Six months later he was notified that the company was going out of business and that he was due a refund.
First they wanted to verify his card information.
“The next day, his bank account was $1,500 lighter,” Stephens said.
“There are just so many scams out there right now that you really have to be aware,” Kendall said.
He said that anytime you receive a check that you weren’t expecting, such as prize money, run it by law enforcement before you do anything with it.
It might save some heart ache and at the very least, someone’s hard-earned savings.
If you are unsure, contact the Cynthiana Police Department or Harrison County  Sheriff’s Department through dispatch at 859-234-7100.