Norwalk man duped by scam

A 21-year-old Norwalk man lost money after responding to an online job ad from AAA Staffing Services and later receiving a check in the mail.
Annie Zelm
Feb 16, 2011


A man who signed up as a mystery shopper discovered too late that he’d fallen victim to a scam. The 21-year-old responded to an online job ad from AAA Staffing Services and later received a check in the mail for $3,216, Norwalk police said.

The company, apparently based in Canada, instructed him by e-mail and phone to use the check to purchase products and evaluate them for quality. He was told to keep some of the money as payment, Norwalk police Capt. Eric Hipp said.

When the man tried to cash the check, the bank held it but eventually allowed him to withdraw a portion of the money. The bank later discovered the check was fraudulent.

“He ended up spending some of the money, and unfortunately the bank will probably be seeking to get it back from him,” Hipp said.

An unexpected check in the mail is usually a red flag for fraud, particularly if it’s postmarked from an unknown location, police said.


Anonymous (not ...

if it's too good to be true it is


Stupid is as stupid does.


How flipping stupid are people common sense either. I agree with buck and 44846GWP.  21 years old, thinks he knows everything/knows the ropes...looking for a fast buck rather than working for it...I don't feel sorry for him.   One of life's harsh lessons, deal with it.

Norma J-C

If unsolicited mail or phone calls come to your home, throw away the mail and hang up on the caller. I had a call the other day and told the person I couldn't understand what she was saying and hung up. Be sure to shred anything with your name and address on it. If you've actually won something, you don't have to pay for it when it is genuine. Trust no one, and proceed with caution when letting go of your money, works for me.

6079 Smith W

From the article:

"The bank held it but eventually allowed him to withdraw a portion of the money."

Who are the supposed experts here? Reads like the bank scr*wed up and now wants him to pay for their stupidity.



6079 Smith W:

I know this is not a convenient notion, but YOU are responsible for any checks brought into the bank.  Keep in mind that a check is simply a piece of printed paper to the bank and is worthless until they recieve money from the originating bank. The banks are making any funds available in good faith, but are not required to.  You are ultimately responsible for the check.  In addition, the banks are only allowed to place a hold on a check for a set period of time under federal regulation CC.  If the check hasn't cleared or it's orignins are in doubt after that period of time, they are forced to release the funds regardless.  If, as in this case, it is discovered that the check was bad after this "reg. CC hold" has expired, why on earth should the bank be held at fault?  They did nothing but process a piece of paper that this guy brought in.  So what you're saying is that this guy should get to keep the products he purchased because of his gullibility and the banks should have to take the loss?  Good lord man...


They told me I've won the publishers clearing house sweepstakes, I hope this is not a scam.

6079 Smith W



@ gavinbrooke:

Question: How much did the bank allow him to withdraw?

I just spoke with someone about this and was told that some banks limit available amounts to $100.00 until the check clears. Was this done?

Another thought: He could possibly return the products for a refund.

I'm not saying that he should be totally held harmless. But in the scheme of things, I think that the greater error lies with the "experts" at the financial institution.

If I had my money in this institution, I'd be drawing it out.




The maximum reg cc hold bank can place on a check under 5000 is 5 days. After this period, the bank must make all funds available regardless if the check has actually cleared.  The bank must make the first $100 availabe at initiation the rest available after the requisite five days.  I worked at a bank, and I have seen several times where the hold expires before the check came back bad, but the banks hands were tied due to this federal regulation.  The bank may have know this customer very well, and as a courtesy allowed him to withdrawl the money early.  Regardless, HE IS STILL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CHECK.  How many people I saw walk away in a huff and threaten to close their accounts because we placed holds on their checks. "I've been a customer here 394 years, how dare you not believe me!"   I guarantee that your bank has done this very thing many, many times, and has even been burnt by it many times.  Get real.  The banks are in a no-win situation.  The article did not state what period of time elapsed before they gave him the funds.


 4484GWP said it all!  lol

William Jeffers...

I only read the on-line somebody please explain to me how the "company" got any benefit out of this?  The only thing I can think of is he had to buy "their" products on-line and pay with his credit card or something?  So does anybody know for sure what did the scamming company get out of this? 

6079 Smith W
@ WJC:   I agree. I couldn’t quite see the “scam” other than getting access to his bank account. Since he’s obviously looking for a job, how much can he have in his account?   -----------------     @ gavinbrooke:   While in high school and college, I worked in several different grocery stores - doesn't make me an expert.   There are exceptions to every law and regulation.   Regardless, we need better info; too many unanswered questions and we're largely shootin' in the dark.    




I was an "expert". I was the regulation compliance officer.  And no, there are NO exceptions to these regulations.  And the scam involves the person cashing the check, keeping a small portion for themselves, purchasing a few inexpensive goods from the stores under the guise of "secret shopping, and wiring the rest of the money via western union to the crook, all before the check has a chance to come back bad.  These scams usually involve a strict deadline.  And yes, I'm an "expert" on these scams.  I recieved extensive training on banking scams, laundering, kiting, name it.  Any other questions???

6079 Smith W

 @ gavinbrooke:

Thanks for your resume. How impressed am I expected to be?

However, as I previously pointed out: You know nothing regarding the specifics of this particular situation.

As you stated yourself, you are essentially guessing as to the timeframe and the institution’s relationship with the individual.




Julie R.

How come we hear about scams like this but we never hear about the criminal scams against the elderly and incompetent and their family members that the crooks at banks and insurance companies (working in collusion with attorneys) pull off? Is it because the corrupt Erie County courts then pull off scams, too ---- like working in collusion with an attorney to file and dismiss a bogus lawsuit in the jurisdiction of another county against the crooks that has nothing to do with an Erie County Probate estate-----so Probate can then bring in a rent-a-judge five years later to tell some attorney he can not file a lawsuit against any matters in an Erie County Probate estate that were already "resolved" in a bogus lawsuit filed and dismissed in Cuyahoga County? 

This county and its courts are a joke.......and with all the baby boomers coming up you can bet these criminal scams against the elderly and incompetent in Erie County will continue.