Check Scam in Pecos

By Camaron Abundes
NewsWest 9

PECOS- It may be the season of giving but crooks may be trying to take your hard earned cash this holiday, and they may be starting in your mailbox.

"I got in in the mail. The first thing you notice is there is no return address," said Pecos resident Shirley Hannah, who found a check for nearly five thousand dollars addressed to her husband in the mailbox, "The letterhead lists an address in Ontario, Canada, but the check has Dallas, TX address with the same company name."

Right off the bat she was skeptical.

"I just brought it on down to the the Sheriff, because there are a lot of elderly people who will fall for this," she said.

The scam works by asking you to send cash to cover the taxes of your winnings, totalling 250 thousand dollars. The company, in this case it's listed as Waterhouse Financial INC., sends you a check for more than the tax amount, asks you to cash it, and then send in your money. They pledge to send in the rest of your winnings.

"It's a real check just," she said but added with no money to back it up,"People get hurt and they buy into this, and then they send in 2,900 dollars, and they're out that money."

Newswest 9 tried to contact the company, Wednesday before investigating the story Thursday. Wednesday, a man with a thick accent picked up and told the caller he had won thousands of dollars, and asked him to send the cash. When the unidentified man called back learned he had talked to someone inside a news station, he stopped picking up. Six phone calls made Thursday went unanswered.

One local bank teller in Pecos, says they have seen several of these bogus checks and warn customers they won't cash the check if they are suspicious, but if it goes through and bounces the money will be pulled from the customer's account.