New Scam from Crooks

(WSVN) - They’re called con artists because they are so good at conning people out of their money. To no one’s surprise, South Florida has too many of them, and their latest scam is a real doozy. That’s why one victim called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Lucie loved her job and never saw it coming.

Lucie Lusignan, scammed by crook: “My company moved. They laid us off.”

Laid off and then trying to find another job at the age of 51 is not easy.

Lucie Lusignan: “I’ve tried. I’ve applied. I’ve sent out applications.”

Needless to say, money was very tight. Then, Lucie got what she thought was a break.

Lucie Lusignan: “It was an email saying that you can be hired right now and weekly pay.”

The email said a company would put an ad on her car to advertise their business.

Lucie would then get $440 a week to drive around.

Lucie Lusignan: “So a check for $1,490 was sent to me.”

Lucie deposited the check that appeared to be from a prominent South Florida air conditioning company.

Lucie Lusignan: “And the logo on it and everything — I mean, thought it was just legit.”

A few days later, the bank said the check cleared it cleared, and in an email, the so-called company told her to keep $440 for her first paycheck and send the other $1,050 to the person who would wrap her car.

Lucie Lusignan: “And that’s when he told me to go to a Bitcoin to deposit the money. I had no clue what Bitcoin was, and I did find it strange.”

It should have been a red flag, but don’t forget, Lucie was unemployed, desperate for a job and needed money.

Lucie Lusignan: “I said, ‘Oh, boy, it was a scam. I got hit.'”

Yes, she did. After she did what the scammer told her to do, the $1,490 check bounced, and the bank then took that money out of Lucie’s account.

Lucie Lusignan: “So I check my account — my balance — to see what I had left, and everything was in the minus.”

From the joy of finally getting a job to the betrayal and sorrow of being broke and scammed.

Lucie Lusignan: “Oh, it was awful.”

Well Howard, when you get hit by a scammer like this, why are you usually told you are out of luck?

Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “Because the law favors the crooks, and they know it. By federal law, a bank has to start releasing the funds from a deposited check within 24 hours, but it takes over a week to clear from another bank. In that time, the crooks have their money, and remember, many of these scammers are not even in the U.S., so tracking them down is next to impossible.”

The scammer had recreated a check using the company Hill York, a prominent South Florida air conditioning business.

They wrote us, “Hill York was extremely troubled when it learned that the company’s name was being used to defraud local consumers.”

Chase — the bank where Lucie deposited the check — wrote, “Before cashing a check, customers should contact the company directly to confirm the check is legit.”

Lucie Lusignan: “I want an opportunity”

Lucie got conned, but she is moving forward and looking every day for a job.

Lucie Lusignan: “Dedicated. Punctual. On time — way before on time — to go to work.”

If you want to hire somebody who really wants to work, Lucie is available.

And if you get one of those checks with some cockamamie story about send the surplus to someone else, that’s a scam. Walk away.

Other ways to spot a scam check are linked down below.

Been scammed? Check. Need help? Check, so deposit it with us. We will bounce around and help you cash in.

To Help Avoid Check Scams

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