The North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Commission has received reports of two different, but common, check scams. Here’s what to be on the lookout for.
In the first secret shopper scam, someone may contact you and hire you to be a “secret shopper” for your local ABC board. They’ll give you a check and direct you to cash it and use the money to buy gift cards. You’ll be asked to mail the gift card back to the person who contacted you. In these types of scams, your bank will often contact you to notify that the check is counterfeit, and your account will be debited in that amount.
The second scam involves internet sales. The scammer will claim they want to buy an item you're selling on eBay or Craig's List, and send you a check that appears to be from your local ABC board. The check will be for an amount higher than the price of the item. They'll ask you to cash the check and send them back the excess amount in cash. This scam also involves counterfeit checks that won't clear your bank account and will cause you to lose money.
It might be difficult to tell the difference between a real and counterfeit check. But you should be suspicious if you’re being hired to do something you didn’t apply for, or if you receive a check for more than your asking price on a sale item. Don’t share any personal or financial information with people who contact you, and don’t cash the check or send the scammer any money or gift cards.
If you’re contacted in either of previously mentioned ways by someone pretending to be your local ABC board or the NC ABC Commission, report the interaction to the NCDOJ’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or http://ncdoj.gov/complaint. Learn more about counterfeit check scams here.