Local Business Owner: 11 News Helped Me Foil Scam Plot

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

In October, 11 News told you about a scam targeting local businesses involving fake letters that asked for personal information. Now, one local business owner says he fell victim to that scam -- or at least he would have it weren't for that 11 News report.

Michael McCormick owns a small family health business in the Redlands. He says he recently received a letter from the Office of Corporation Compliance, asking for some information about his business.

"It asked us to send a check with it for processing which is not unusual for government mechanisms," said McCormick.

So he filled out the letter, wrote a check for $150 and put it in the mail. But then, he got a surprise.

"The next day, we saw a segment on 11 News that identified that very same document as being fraudulent," said McCormick.

He says he couldn't believe it.

"It looked very convincing," said McCormick. "It looked like it might have been from the Secretary of State."

McCormick says after speaking with a fraud investigator from the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, he learned he had nearly lost more than that $150. He says the investigator told him in most cases, scam artists are more interested in the routing number on the check, so they can write an even bigger one themselves.

"It was quite shocking to find out we fell for what obviously was a scam," said McCormick.

McCormick says he has since canceled the check and changed his account numbers. He just hopes other local business owners learn from his mistakes.

"We're gonna be much more careful about verifying the requests from government agencies," said McCormick. "We're not gonna be quite as casual as we have been in the past."

The Mesa County Sheriff's Office says one of the easiest ways to find out if a letter, phone call, or email is a scam is to Google it. Officials say often times people will post their experiences with scams on the internet.

Officials say if you ever think you may have fallen victim to a scam, call local law enforcement immediately.


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