The Hingham Police Department is warning residents of a new scam method being conducted through the mail.
Hingham police said victims have received emails or letters that appear to be from a legitimate company which states that the “business is sending out check, for any number of reasons, including a reward for being a loyal customer or as a lottery or sweepstakes prize,” police said.
The letter asks the customer to pay a small amount to cover taxes and other fees.
“The victim receives a next day UPS package with their "prize or award check" and the are directed to wire the tax amount to the immediately,” Hingham Police said in a written email. “The victim deposits their "check", which takes several days to clear, but they wire the money instantly. By the time the victim receives word from their bank that the check they received is fraudulent its too late.”
Police believe the scam originated in Nigeria.
The check being sent to victims seem genuine and appear in very good quality, police said. Some were even using real bank account numbers from real businesses, but the companies were not involved in the scams.
Hingham Police Chief Michael Peraino even received packages from the scammers. One check he received was for $3,000 and one was for $2,350.