Several months ago, I posted an article about the practice of some charities sending people checks in hopes of getting a donation in return.
A REGIONAL member had come to the office, having received a letter and check for $2.50 from the National Cancer Research Center. They instructed the recipient to cash the check if they wanted to, but to consider sending them $10 instead, for their annual fund drive.
At the time, I wasn’t sure what the deal was, but I did suggest erring on the side of caution and not cashing the check at all. Details about the National Cancer Research Center were pretty sketchy, and it just seemed like a weird chance to take if you’re trying to raise money. What if every person you sent the check to cashed it?
Talk about your instincts being right.
Since then, I’ve heard of some other alleged “charities” sending people checks for small amounts of money, using a similar pitch. What I didn’t consider at the time was this: when you cash one of these checks, the people who sent it can get a copy of it when it hits their bank. That puts your account number and routing number into their hands. At that point, they can drain your account at will.
So I’m going to slightly modify what I said months ago: if a charity sends you a check for a small amount of money, do not cash it and do not donate money. You are, in all likelihood, looking at a scam.
You can, however, file a complaint with the Postal Inspector, if you’re a proactive type of person.