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Financial scam prompts warning

BY DAVID ZOELLER dzoeller@paducahsun.comSNbS

Paducah Police are warning residents and financial institutions of an apparent scam reported by a local credit union.

According to police, a local woman was apparently caught up in a scam whereby a company or individual recruits someone to deposit a check for them, with a promise of sharing in the money. Normally, police said, the person or persons initiating the scam will ask the individual to deposit the check and then wire an amount of money to them.

Police said the woman came into the Signet Federal Credit Union, 1600 Clark St., about a week ago and opened an individual IRA account. A few days later, a check for $85,000 was delivered to the credit union by Fed Ex, and deposited into the woman's account. She then withdrew $9,000.

An investigation by the credit union determined the check was fraudulent, the woman was contacted and she returned the $9,000. While the woman was at the credit union returning the $9,000 she had withdrawn, she received a call from an unknown man with instructions to wire him $6,500 of the $85,000, according to police. The woman was told she could keep the rest. The wire was not sent.

Since that time, the credit union has received two additional checks, one for $69,450.32 and another for $69,000. The checks had valid routing and account numbers, but the check numbers were wrong and they were not issued by the companies listed on the checks, police said.

Both checks contained the memo line "Rollover IRA Contribution." One was shipped from a company in California, the other from one in New York state. Both were shipped from an address in Jacksonville, Fla., with the same method of delivery.

The police department warns financial institutions to be alert, and residents to be wary of the promise of free money.

"It's been said a million times, if it sounds to good to be true ... it probably isn't," said Robin Newberry, Paducah Police public relations director. Scams like this one come up once and a while, she said.

Pam Stokes, of the credit union's operations department, said this particular scam was a little more elaborate than some. The first check was made out to the credit union and not the woman who opened the account. "We want the other financial institutions to be aware of it," she said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Paducah Police Department at 270-444-8550 or Crime Stoppers at 443-TELL. Tipsters may also text their tips to "CRIMES" (274637) by entering "Ky Tips" followed by their information, or by visiting the Crime Stoppers website, westkycrimestoppers.info. Information leading to an arrest or indictment may result in a reward of up to $1,000.

Contact David Zoeller, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676.

        

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