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Scammers sending fake checks appearing to be from WILX

Checks worth $2,950 are not sent from WILX-TV
Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 5:11 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Someone is sending checks that appear to come from WILX-TV.

People are getting these checks across the country.

"It was almost a perfect storm," said Kevin Roberts.

Roberts lives in Owensville, Indiana, which is near Evansville. He said the scammers started texting him in early July.

“It said ‘we are paying $500 a week to put signage on your vehicle so when you’re driving around you’re basically advertising,‘” said Roberts.

Roberts said he thought it was a good deal, so he signed up.

He got a check worth $2,950.

"And you take your first $500 out of that and then $50 for running around town," Roberts told News 10.

The good news is the check bounced before he sent any money back to the scammers.

The envelope said it was from Big Lots, which is the ad Roberts was expecting for his truck, but the check says it was from WILX.

"I just thought Big Lots was paying the tv station to handle this stuff," he said.

WILX Vice President and General Manager Debbie Pettersmark said it doesn't work like that.

"There is no way in the world a television station is ever going to send a check to an individual asking them to cash it and then pay back a part of that check," Pettersmark said.

Pettersmark said the scammers got WILX's banking information and copied the checks.

The Indiana Attorney General's office said they are seeing these types of scams more often.

"This is a time that is ripe for scammers and people interested in committing fraud," said Scott Barnhart, Director of Consumer Protection Division at the Indiana Attorney General's office.

Barnhart said people need to use common sense. Legitimate companies won’t send you a check and then ask you to send money back.

"If it looks too good to be true it probably is," said Pettersmark.

A similar scam also involves WILX sister station WRDW in Augusta, Georgia.

Lawyers at WILX's parent company, Gray Television, are working to resolve the issue.

If you get an unexpected check that appears to be from WILX, call the station at 517-393-0110.

Report any check you suspect is part of a scam to your local police department or attorney general.

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