Tracy Taschereau says she was desperately trying to save her home when she fell for a sophisticated scam.
A company reached out to her, she says, and told her that for a $2,000 loan, she simply had to return funds from a series of checks to ensure the FDIC she could repay the money borrowed.
For example, one day they deposited a check for $945 and asked that she return $900.
It continued four or five times until she ultimately shelled out over $3,000. Each time they sent her the money, the funds posted to her account, but then ultimately bounced. And by then, it was too late.
She had already sent them thousands.
"When I realized what happened, I just cried because it was like now what?" said Taschereau
But the Ypsilanti homeowner is far from the only one feeling the pain.
"The scam is, basically, we are going to give you this check. The check is for more money than we are willing to do this transaction for and just remit the balance to us," said Melanie Duquesnel of the Better Business Bureau.
The BBB says its tracked dozens of metro Detroiters falling victim to a similar scheme in the last three years, and it's impacting young people more than it is senior citizens.
The consumer org says the majority of victims reporting the fraud were scammed on sites like Facebook, Craigslist and even popular shopping app, Poshmark.
Here’s what you need to know:
- If someone gives you a check in an amount higher than what you asked for, it’s likely fake.
- Always examine the check, making sure it has the correct routing number and that there aren’t any misspellings flagging a scam
- Don't ever assume that when funds post, you’re in the clear. Often, funds don't clear until weeks after a check is deposited.
- If you think you’ve fallen victim, make sure to report it to police and the BBB immediately (www.BBB.org)