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A Scam Story: Secret Shopping and Fake Checks
May 16, 2018
by Emma Fletcher

Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

Scammers need a good story to get to your wallet. Once they find one that works, they use it again and again. One of their old favorites brings together fake checks and secret shopping, and we’ve been hearing a lot about it lately.

Here’s how it starts. You get a check in the mail with a job offer as a secret shopper. You deposit the check and see the funds in your account a few days later, and the bank even tells you the check has cleared.

Now you’re off to the store you’ve been asked to shop at and report back on, often a Walmart. Your first assignment is to test the in-store money transfer service, like Western Union or MoneyGram, by sending some of the money you deposited. Or you might be told to use the money to buy reloadable cards or gift cards, such as iTunes cards.

You’re instructed to send pictures of the cards or to give the numbers on the cards. Fast forward days or weeks to the unhappy ending. The bank finds out the check you deposited is a fake, which means you’re on the hook for all that money. How does that even happen? Well, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks.

By the time you try to get the money back from the money transfer service, the scammers are long gone, and they’ve taken all the money off the gift cards, too. (By the way, money orders and cashier’s checks can be faked, too.)

The moral of the story? If anyone ever asks you to deposit a check and then wire or send money in any way, you can bet it’s a scam. No matter what they tell you.

Want to avoid the latest rip-offs? Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at

Enhancing Cultural Responsiveness to Latin@ Survivors of Family and Sexual Violence
June 21, 2018
Shelby County Sheriff Training Center 
380 McDow Rd.
Columbiana, AL 35051
Participants will receive certificate of attendance.
Topics include:      
Understanding Latin@ Realities: Promoting a Human Rights Framework to End Violence in Latin@ Communities          
Ensuring Meaningful Access to Limited English Proficient Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence
Panel Discussion-Improving Services, Breaking Barriers
For more information email:
Angélica Meléndez

Presented by:
The Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama ¡HICA! and Casa de Esperanza/National Latin@ Network.
This training is approved and sponsored by the U. S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.
We are happy to report that M4A's Older Americans Act Title III Legal Assistance provider Jan Neal Law Firm, LLC, is now a "dementia friendly" business. The staff of the firm have been trained and certified as Dementia Care Specialists. This certification is awarded to professionals who have demonstrated a commitment to a person-centered and best-abilities care model for people with dementia, and who share the pursuit of a Dementia Capable Society.  We believe this training and certification will ensure quality services for clients with dementia and their caregivers.   CONGRATULATIONS !!

Following a couple from diagnosis to the final stages of Alzheimer's

For 10 years, Dr. Jon LaPook has been checking in on Carol Daly, a woman diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and her caregiver husband, Mike. After a decade, the disease has had a devastating impact on each of them.


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Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging · 209 Cloverdale Circle · Alabaster, AL 35007 · USA

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