An elderly couple in California recently received a piece of mail that seemed too good to be true. It was a U.S. Postal Service priority envelope that had a legitimate business name and return address in a nearby city. Inside the envelope was a cashier’s check for $2,400 from a real bank.

The instructions with the check asked the recipient to deposit the money, use $2,000 of it to purchase 20 iTunes gift cards with a value of $100 each and take photos of the codes on each card. The recipient would then email the photos to a provided address. The remaining $400 was for the recipient to keep for their effort. While the couple could have used the extra money, they were very suspicious of the offer. Their daughter contacted a local television station to investigate.

The station discovered that while the bank was real, the cashier’s check was fake. Banks are required to provide the funds on a cashier’s check immediately, so it appears the person has $2,400. Once the bank finds out the check is bogus, the depositor is held responsible. The scammer gets away with hundreds of dollars worth of gift card codes. This is why it is very important to vet any offer that arrives unsolicited in the mail.

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