Morristown woman warning others about check scam

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Sheila Jones wasn't expecting a package, but about two weeks ago, an Express mail envelope arrived at her door.

"Naturally, I opened it up to see what it was. It was a check on the bank of CitiFinancial for $1850," said Jones.

It came with instructions: go to Walmart, buy something as a Mystery Shopper and report on conditions at the store.

Of the $1850 check, Jones was told to keep $200 for her mystery shopping expenses, and wire the rest to someone in the Philappines.

Luckily, she knew it was a scam, even though the check looked legitimate and she's a secret shopper. That's because her sister fell for something similar:

"She cashed the check and so forth, and she got took I think for $1,000. She had to pay it back because she had deposited the check and spent the money, and done other things," said Jones.

FBI Special Agent Marshall Stone said if you get a check like that in the mail, don't cash it until you can verify that it's real. If you do cash it, don't spend the money until the check clears. He said scams like these have warning flags:

"Anytime you receive a check for an amount more than what you're being paid, and you're asked to send it to someone else, you have to ask, 'Why don't you send it to someone else? Why are you asking me to distribute money?'" said Stone.

Jones said since her sister got ripped off, she's made it her mission to stop scammers. She's hopeful her story will remind people that something too good to be true, usually is.

The FBI said you should never give your personal or financial information to someone you don't know or didn't initiate contact with.

If you've been the victim of a scam, contact your local police force or the FBI.

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