Attorney General Abbott Warns Consumers to Avoid Cashing Bogus Checks
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has learned about a new scam involving fake checks that resemble consumer refund checks issued under the OAG’s settlement with EMO Corp. Mock checks and letters bearing the unrelated company names EMO Network Financial and EMO Logistics Marketing are promising sweepstakes winnings or secret shopper income opportunities. When the mock checks are not honored by the bank printed on the document face, the amounts cashed from these checks then are deducted from the recipients’ bank accounts.|
We urge consumers who receive these checks in the mail to contact the Office of the Attorney General or the U.S. Postal Service. Recipients should not cash or deposit these checks, or send money as directed by some of the accompanying correspondence.
The checks bear an EMO settlement administrator’s account from Comerica Bank. These mock checks have been used in connection with a sweepstakes scheme, falsely informing recipients that they won $86,000. Recipients were told to send $2,860 in cash, which is covered by the enclosed check, to claim their prizes.
Similar checks also have been distributed with letters notifying recipients they were selected to be “secret shoppers.” These recipients, who are instructed to wire $2,486 to a “training agent,” receive a mock check for $2,890 that purports to cover the training cost.
Under the state’s EMO Corp. settlement, legitimate checks were written to return a portion of the funds lost by EMO Corp. account holders. EMO Corp. was an unlicensed online money services business that was placed into receivership by the state of Texas in March 2006. The account is subject to the court orders entered in the case numbered D-1-GV-06-000341 and styled State of Texas v. EMO Corp., et al. in the 201st District Court of Travis County.
Consumers who have received such checks may contact the Office of the Attorney General at (800) 252-8011 or access the agency’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.
ABOUT CONSUMER ALERTS - The Office of the Attorney General accepts consumer complaints about businesses. When a pattern of complaints warrants intervention, the Attorney General can file a civil lawsuit under consumer protection statutes, sometimes with the result that a company is required to pay restitution to consumers -- see our Major Lawsuits page. However, when a consumer is swindled by a con artist, filing a complaint cannot help. Civil litigation can sometimes put a very unscrupulous business out of action, but often cannot produce restitution.
Individual con artists generally fall under the jurisdiction of a criminal prosecutor -- in Texas, this is the district or county attorney. But even when they are charged and convicted, these individuals usually have spent the money as fast as they have stolen it. A person who is the victim of fraud should report the incident to the police or sheriff. But by far the best thing is for consumers to be aware of fraud, so they are not swindled in the first place. For this reason, the Office of the Attorney General posts these Consumer Alerts about possible scams and schemes that come to our attention through citizen contacts to our office or other sources.