Op-Ed: Your check is in the mail, but don't cash it

Posted Dec 6, 2013 by Karen Graham
It's that time of year again. You know what I mean, when unsuspecting people are inundated with scams involving everything from free gifts to free money, and all the victim has to do is give out their personal information.
A check in the mail is no guarantee of money in the hand.
A check in the mail is no guarantee of money in the hand.
Don Hankins
The old check scam is back, just in time for those of us who may be a little short of money to buy those "must-have" Christmas gifts for everyone on our gift lists. This time the checks are being delivered by Fed-EX, a reputable company that most people, when getting the checks, think makes the delivery perfectly legitimate and on the "up-and-up."
The people behind the scam have done their homework. Besides using a legitimate delivery service, they are using a real organization, in one case, a charity called Universal Initiative Foundation in Toledo, Ohio.
The checks are drawn on the Huntington National Bank, in Columbus, Ohio, and are from $1,300 to $1,900. The one big mistake the scammers have made is not enclosing a letter saying why the recipient is being given the check. But that's a small issue to worry over, because all it takes is a few people actually cashing those checks to make the scam successful.
Universal Initiative Foundation is a charitable, public, non-profit organization with a global reach in supporting projects covering a wide variety of issues, including education, medical and health care, and social welfare. Reporters spoke with the president of the foundation, and according to Fox45now, the foundation is aware of scammers using the organization, but say there is nothing they can do because of the difficulty of tracking the people down.