ATLANTA — A metro Atlanta woman only discovered criminals were using her identity to scam others when she came home to a porch full of returned packages.
Channel 2 Consumer Investigator Justin Gray learned that there were tens of thousands of dollars in checks inside the packages.
The checks look real and they are from a real bank, but police shredded them because they are fakes.
As for the people being scammed, it tells them right there on the envelope who is behind it all.
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More than 20 of the return envelopes arrived on Cassondra Beedles’ Cobb County front porch one day and many more arrived over the course of several weeks. All were marked “fraud risk intercept,” and “return to sender” by the USPS, but Beedles said she hadn’t sent any packages.
“So I open it up and I pull it out and I’m like, ‘God, it’s a check.’ And then I’m like, ‘I don’t know this person.’ The fraud department says, “Yes. We’ve had several other letters here with your account,’” Beedles said. “And I was like, ‘I don’t have an account.’ They said, ‘No, you opened an account.”
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Check cashing scams are common. Channel 2 Action News has reported on them a lot over the years, essentially a promise like a work-from-home opportunity where you get the check in the mail for thousands of dollars, but need to send money from your own bank account for something like supplies. You later find out the check is a fake.
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At the height of the pandemic in 2020, Channel 2 Action News did an investigation into work-from-home scams, Gray went to a DeKalb County office where he suspected a work-from-home operation was being run only to find the scammers were impersonating a legitimate business name and address for their criminal activity.
The real business even received a threat letter from the Missouri Attorney General about the scam.
Beedles is worried about the same kind of confusion.
“Somebody receives this and they they look back and they got scammed,” Beedles said. “It looks like I scammed them. So who’s to say they’re not going to come find me and approach me about it.”
The checks were mailed from UPS stores all across the country. UPS tells Beedles they don’t know how many in total were shipped. She’s tracked down at least 50 and reported them to police. It’s unclear how many of the checks got through to their targets and how many people were scammed.
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