Alert number: CA049079_6/8/18(6/19)
The state of Washington Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has received a complaint from a Washington consumer concerning an apparent money transmission scam.
The scammer reportedly contacted the consumer by email (unsolicited) offering to pay the consumer to permit the scammer to place advertising on the consumer’s delivery truck. The scammer stated he would send the consumer a check to cover the cost. The consumer was to deposit the check into his bank account, keep a portion for his advertising fee, and send the remainder to a company which would be placing the advertising on the truck. The scammer, however, claimed to be unable to talk to the consumer on the telephone and would only contact the consumer by email or text message.
The consumer reported that a few days later he received by priority mail a “Treasurer’s Check” appearing to be drawn on The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod and a “To whom it may concern” letter asking the consumer to send a text message to *412-214-0165* with the check number and the consumer’s name prior to depositing the check.
The consumer became suspicious because the letter was not addressed to him and had several misspelled words and a warning not to ignore the message. The consumer also thought it suspicious that the Priority Mail label appeared to be from Wayne Mills Company, Inc., a textile company in Pennsylvania, which the consumer had never heard of.
The Treasurer’s Check was subsequently determined to be fraudulent and the Priority Mail label to be counterfeit.
The following information is related to the alleged scammer:
Name: Philip Nelson
Please note that The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod is a legitimate bank regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and was also victimized by the scammer. Additionally, Wayne Mills Company, Inc. is an actual company which does not appear to be involved in this attempted scam.
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions warns Washington consumers not to send money to someone they do not know or trust if the circumstances are unusual and the person requests money in advance or because of a claimed emergency. Once money has been sent by a money transmitter and it is received by the person to whom the consumer instructed it be sent, the money cannot usually be returned. Consumers should:
- Not send money to someone that they have not met in person.
- Stay informed about current scams involving money transfers. (See below.)
- Never send money to someone that has provided the consumer with a payment by check and is asking the consumer to then send money back to them.
- Make sure that the company or person that they are sending to is legitimate.
- Contact the money transmitter immediately if the consumer believes that they have been scammed.
- When sending money, verify that the money transmitter is licensed. Consumers can use the “Verify a License” feature on DFI’s website at www.dfi.wa.gov to make sure that a money transmitter is licensed to conduct business in the state of Washington.
- Not provide any personal information, such as social security number or bank account number or access if the company is not licensed or authorized to conduct business.
Important Information for All Consumers
- If you feel you have been the victim of a scam you can contact the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) or online at www.ftc.gov; or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) at 1-855-411-CFPB (2372) or online at www.consumerfinance.gov.
- If the scammers already have your bank account information, social security number, or other personal information, you may be a victim of identity theft. You can contact your bank and the three major credit bureaus to take appropriate precautions. The FTC has information for victims of identity theft online at www.ftc.gov.
- If you feel you have been the victim of a scam involving the internet you can contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center online at www.ic3.gov.
- If you feel you have been the victim of a financial scam and are concerned about your personal financial information, you can contact your banking institution and the three major credit bureaus. Procedures for contacting the credit bureaus are available on the FTC’s website at www.ftc.gov.
- Keep informed about common scams. Visit www.consumer.ftc.gov and click on “Scam Alerts” for information about recent scams