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Check scam hits Ennis business

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Michael Seiber

The Ellis County Press

Ennis – A nationwide check fraud scam has hit an Ellis county business. Maverick Metal has been the victim of a Sweepstakes Fraud being perpetrated by identity thieves and scam artist in Canada, with addresses from New Foundland to Vancouver.

Brad Lane, owner of Maverick Metal said, "It started in September of this year and continues today as of this issue."

Criminals unknown to Mr. Lane acquired his companies’ accurate banking and checking information, on Guaranty Bank of Ennis, and were writing checks to people all over the United States, east to west and north to south.

This brazen act was successfully thwarted, a few weeks ago, when Guaranty Bank’s Fraud Department flagged the incoming out-of-state checks written on Maverick Metals account.

What continues to occur in the "sweepstakes fraud" victims are mailed authentic looking checks with factual information in amounts of $2,000 to $5,000, stating "You have won a sweepstakes," and then what they should do to collect.. On several of the confirmation letters, the unsuspecting individuals received, it stated they had won a sweepstakes they had registered for at Sears, Home Depot or WalMart. The victims were than to mail back a personal check to process the winnings.

The second layer of the scam is when an unsuspecting victim would send money back to this particular address. At this point the perpetrators now would have another individuals account information and names.

This has been happening to people of all ages. One in particular incident Lane remembers is when an 83 year old woman’s’ daughter called Maverick Metals and asked him to please explain to her mother the check she received was a complete fake. He spent at least fifteen minutes on the phone with her stating it was a scam and not to cash the check. "It took some convincing but she finally understood", Lane said.

It is hard to believe humor could be found in this situation, but, Brad recently received a phone call from the manager of a check cashing business in Tampa, Florida. She was telling Brad she was trying to confirm a check drawn on Maverick Metal’s account and asked if they had written it. The manager sounded very excited, than said she could detain person and call the police and have the person arrested. Brad said, " I had to tell her ‘No , No,’ this a very big scam and there is an ongoing investigation and these people are being victimized."

"Names of the scam artists’ parent company keep changing and has changed at least five times since this started," stated Lane. Several people have sent checks and sweepstakes letters back to Maverick Metal stating ‘no thanks they weren’t interested’. This is how he knows of the different names of the companies trying to ‘pull the wool over peoples eyes’. Lane has a manila folder growing thick with this information.

Brad stated the old adage "If it sounds to good to be true than it is". Lane said, I’m extremely appreciative of Guaranty Bank’s due diligence, on Maverick Metals behalf, in catching and stopping this criminal act."

A word of warning, PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY.

The picture shows that this is an actual check drawn on Maverick Metal. As you can see his company name and address is there, Guaranty Bank and address is on the check and routing information is on the check. Note routing number was blanked out for security.

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