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Longboat Key police warn of COVID-19 financial relief scam

Scammers are accused of using the town's information to mail a fake check in exchange for agreeing to a long-term loan.

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  • | 3:37 p.m. June 10, 2020
A scammer mailed a Longboat Key resident a fraudulent check for $32,500.
A scammer mailed a Longboat Key resident a fraudulent check for $32,500.
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The Longboat Key Police Department is warning people of a scam related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Longboat Key Police Chief Pete Cumming said Wednesday his department is aware of one instance where a scammer has mailed a resident a fake financial relief benefit check.

Cumming said the scammer mailed a person a fake check for $32,500 in exchange for agreeing to a long-term loan.

“It’s got the administrative offices of the town of Longboat Key on it, which is completely fictitious and fraudulent,” Cumming said. “By its appearance, it shows the amount of the check. Obviously, the monthly payments to pay back at a percentage rate of nearly 19% over 22 years.

“You can see it’s got a 1(800) number, and it looks like a legitimate check that would be received by the resident, who would then be authorized to cash it and begin this loan process.”

Cumming said Town Manager Tom Harmer brought the scam to his attention on Tuesday.

“What we don’t want is for somebody to think that this is somehow a government-backed loan,” Cumming said.

Cumming said the check and loan process is “not legitimate.” He expressed concern for anyone who thought to begin the process of cashing the check and agreeing to the long-term loan payment.

“This is something that by all accounts, if cashed or if implemented, they would be obligated,” Cumming said. “We want to be sure we get this out there before anybody does something like that. It would be a monumental mistake.”

Cumming said people should be wary of receiving unsolicited offers for loans, which can include phone calls where someone presents themselves as a member of the IRS, police department or federally associated entity.

“They should be suspicious of that without having, again, being solicited by anybody to apply for a loan of any kind,” Cumming said. “We also would like for everyone to know this does not come from the town of Longboat Key, nor any affiliation of Longboat Key.”

In April, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office warned people of scammers calling people to expedite government stimulus payments. The IRS processes those payments and does not call people about them.

Anyone who has received a fraudulent check is asked to call the Longboat Key Police Department at (941) 316-1977.


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