International scam can cost you thousands of dollars

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

Alice residents have received bogus checks in the mail that could clean out their savings accounts and bank officials are warning them to be aware.

"We tell them that it's fraud," said Lisa Munoz, spokeswoman for International Bank of Commerce in Alice. "From what I've heard, they get real pushy with the person and demand them to go to the bank, sometimes calling them and calling them until they send them the money."

Several residents have received a letter through mail attached with a check in the amount of thousands of dollars. The company letterhead is from Tricobraun Financial from a Canadian branch in Toronto Ontario.

The letter instructs the individual to call an office to validate the check so that it can be processed through their bank and deposited.

The letter states, "All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from a pool of 45,000 names from Europe and North America. Your fund is now deposited with our institution and insured in your name."

Rafaela Garcia received the letter with a check for the amount of $4,880 on Monday and said the prize pool was tempting.

"It looked so real so I called the number on the statement to claim it and I noticed that the man (who answered) was not professional," Garcia said.

"It was a fraud check and I'm glad I talked to the bank lady."

Garcia also called the post office to verify the address, but postal officials told her that the address did not exist.

Garcia's own investigation saved her thousands of dollars.

"I'm glad I talked to several professionals because it looked so tempting," she said. "I feel sorry for the people that use it and end up losing their savings."

IBC Bank officials said they have received two fraud checks similar to Garcia's and warn residents about these international scams.

Munoz said the scam artists' only interest is to get the money from the person's account.

"All they are concerned about is getting cash wired over there," Munoz said.