A counterfeit check nearly got past the eye of the King County Sheriff John Urquhart.
For more than 24 years, Urquhart has served the King County community.
And it was about time he got rewarded for his stellar work with a big check!
“$27,000.85, that’s a good chunk of change even for the sheriff,” Urquhart said.
The check, from an unknown fan, was drawn from a Fidelity account.
“Sure looks like a good check to me,” Urquhart said.
The sheriff even endorsed the check before realizing it was a scam.
“I stopped and thought and said ‘wait a minute – I haven’t had an account at Fidelity in 30 years. There’s a scam going on here,’” Urquhart explained.
The scammer tried to play a fast one on the wrong guy.
“This was not a good check. This is a counterfeit check,” Urquhart said.
In fact, the fraudster sent it to Urquhart’s office in the King County Courthouse.
“They are going after the sheriff of King County with a significant amount of money so it can happen to anybody,” Urquhart explained.
So, here’s how a check scam usually works.
The fraudster would send a check for $1,000. The victim is then asked to deposit the check and keep $200, but wire the remaining funds back to the scammer.
Then the fake check bounces and the victim is left with having to pay the $1,000.
In the sheriff’s case, the thieves covered their tracks well.
“There’s a legit return address in Ohio we traced back to a woman. She certainly had no role in this, but this is not the first time someone has come calling to her about this,” Urquhart explained.
The big giveaway on the Fidelity check was the date. The check was dated in 2015 and says it is not valid to cash after 180 days.
If you ever receive an unexpected windfall, it’s important to check that check first.
“If you are not expecting that check, don’t cash it. Find out what’s going on first. I guess that’s my message,” Urquhart said.
Urquhart says he’s not sure what the scammer was trying to accomplish.
If you receive an unexpected check and you think it’s fake, call the bank.
You can check the dates or have the bank check it out. But don’t cash it!