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Police warn after youth victimized by cheque fraudster

Victim was asked to cash a cheque for $1,200 and was instructed to keep $600 and to e-transfer the remainder to the fraudster, says Waterloo Regional Police
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Waterloo Regional Police are issuing a warning after receiving reports of young people throughout the Waterloo Region becoming victims of cheque fraud via instant messaging applications.

In this scam, the fraudster sends a message about a money-making opportunity, via an instant messaging application, to the victim. The fraudster asks the victim to deposit a cheque for them and tells them to keep a portion of the funds after e-transferring the other portion of the funds to the fraudster. The fraudster provides photos of the front and back of a cheque. The victim then auto-deposits the cheque, which initially provides them access to the funds, but results in the loss of funds or causes the victim’s account to be overdrawn after the cheque later bounces.

In one case, on May 19, 2023, a Kitchener youth became a victim of this scam after receiving a message from a fraudster. The victim was asked to cash a cheque for $1,200 and was instructed to keep $600 and to e-transfer the remainder to the fraudster. The victim also shared the messaging application contact with friends, who subsequently became victims after depositing fraudulent cheques.  

Members of the public are encouraged to consider the following tips to help protect themselves from fraudulent cheque scams:
    •    A general warning sign is when someone gives you a cheque and asks you to send some of the funds elsewhere. If you are told that you will receive money and to forward part or all of that money to someone else for any purpose, know that this is a scam — no matter how reasonable the explanation.
    •    Whether you are accepting funds or making payments, it's always important to be comfortable with the transaction and aware of who you are accepting cheques from.
    •    Do not spend money from any cheque until the money has been cleared from the financial institution (bank or credit union) the cheque is being drawn upon.

If you believe you have been a victim of a similar scam, you can file a complaint with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or contact Waterloo Regional Police at 519-570-9777.