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Chief Warns Of Scam

February 28, 2014

ST. MARYS — Scammers are using a new technique that one local law enforcement official says is aimed at making their tactics appear legit.

The St. Marys Police Department recently received a complaint regarding a scam that is new to the area. A local resident received a package via Federal Express that claimed to be part of a secret shopper program. The package included instructions — and a check for $2,000. The recipient was instructed to take the check to their bank, deposit it, keep 12 percent and return the rest. The 12 percent, St. Marys Police Chief Mark Ernst said, was supposed to be the fee for cashing the check. Ernst said the instructions told the recipient to refrain from mentioning the secret shopper program to the bank teller as they were the targets of the secret shopper program.

“They were supposed to send the rest of the money back and provide a report about how the teller interacted with them during the visit,” Ernst said. “We don’t want anyone to fall victim to this.”

Ernst said a woman in her 70s received a package with similar instructions that came from a company called Solidarity Community Federal Credit Union. Ernst said the woman did not fall for the scam and brought the package to the police department.

“We definitely knew enough not to participate,” Ernst said.

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