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Current advisory

VCU Police caution community about check and money order scam

9/18/2014

On Sept. 15, 2014, VCU Police received a report of a possible check and money order scam. A victim reported that someone claiming to be an employee of Washington State University contacted her on her VCU e-mail account.

The suspect offered the victim a job as a personal assistant. After the victim gave her personal information to the unknown suspect in an e-mail, she received two checks via e-mail for more than $900 each. Both checks initially cleared in the victim’s bank account.

The suspect asked the victim to purchase items for an orphanage in Richmond, but was then asked to send a money order to a third person in Boston, MA. The victim purchased a money order for nearly $1600 and sent it to Boston. However, her bank account reflected a significant overdraft in funds, at which time she reported the incident to VCU Police.

The VCU Police Department believes the incident is a scam and advises students, faculty and staff to avoid cashing checks and money orders from strangers. The department has received other reports of similar incidents.

Often these crimes involve counterfeit checks and money orders. Victims mistakenly think they will be paid for services, or assisting with purchases, but the funds are ultimately deducted from their personal accounts and they are left with a debt to their bank.

If you suspect that you’ve been issued a fraudulent check or money order, please contact law enforcement.

Additional information on check scams is available on the following website:

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: https://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnwin0607/scams.html

Preparedness

It is essential to be prepared for emergency situations and to be cognizant of ways to prevent crime and avoid dangerous situations.

The Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department would like to remind students, in particular, to keep personal safety in mind. There are certain things you need to be aware of as residents of an urban environment, as crimes may occur in our community.

The best defense is to be prepared and to take responsibility for your own safety and for that of your friends and fellow students. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, walk with a friend and make use of RamSafe, VCU’s security escort service. For additional safety tips from the VCU Police, please see www.police.vcu.edu and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to read VCU’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report Get Adobe Reader and to share this information with other members of the community.

VCU is dedicated to promoting a safe and secure environment for learning, living, working or visiting.