West Tisbury police caution residents of Namibian scam

West Tisbury police caution residents of Namibian scam

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West Tisbury police cautioned residents to be aware of check scams. — Photo by Tony Omer

Discard parcels from “Mutual Financial Incorporated,” advise West Tisbury police. Police reported that the company check is part of a scam that originates in Namibia.

The thieves use the hefty checks made out for thousands of dollars to lure recipients into paying a processing fee, at which point the original check is voided.

“What they want you to do is deposit the check and then send them $3,900 out of the $4,000 something they give you,” West Tisbury police chief Dan Rossi said in a telephone conversation with The Times. “Then the original check comes back bad. Yesterday a man dropped off this check with the other documents. He called the number and asked if he could cash it, and someone actually picked up the phone, but he got angry and said the check must be banked not cashed. That’s when the man brought the check to us.”

The man, who asked not to be identified, said, “I got this parcel from Africa and immediately I thought, this is a scam. I even called the number and spoke with the guy, Paul Orlando, who has a very strong African accent, and he told me to deposit the check, pay the processing fee and call him back.”

The check was assigned to Cigna Dental, Health and Life Insurance Company. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is familiar with these scams. “We get these all the time,” said an FBI employee in a telephone conversation with The Times who said it was Bureau policy not to release last names. “They send you this money and then get you to send a portion or all of the money somewhere. You think you’re sending the money they gave you, but then the first check comes back bad after a couple days, and you’re responsible for the processing fee.”

A Times reporter called Paul Orlando at one of the numbers listed in the letter. Asked if it was a scam, “Mr. Orlando” replied, “Yes, it is, goodbye sir.”