Check Scam Highlights 'Corporate Identity Theft'
Most of us have heard of "identity theft." It usually involves personal information of a consumer being stolen and used to steal money from the unwitting victim. Now there's a new form of identity theft becoming much more common: Corporate identity theft.
Since April a reputable construction material company headquartered in St. Paul, the Brock White Company, has been the victim. It's mostly just been a nuisance for Brock White. At least 100 people have contacted the company after receiving checks in the mail supposedly from Brock White. A letter accompanying the check says the recipient has won $50,000 in a lottery they entered unknowingly just by shopping at a local store. They're urged to cash the checks ranging from $2,850 to $3,950 as their initial winnings. Then they're told to wire $2,000 to cover a "tax clearance fee" before the rest of the $50,000 prize will be sent by FedEx or UPS.
The Better Business Bureau is warning everyone to disregard most mysterious checks that arrive in the mail if they also make you send money or divulge personal information to anyone. Corporate identity theft is on the rise. Even the BBB has been victimized by phony e-mails sent under their name that can cause "malware" to be installed on your computer to "phish" for account information and sensitive passwords.