Grayson business owner warns about possible check scam

- A Gwinnett County business owner wants to get the word out that his company is not behind a series of checks sent out to people across the country.

John Southwell owns Atlanta Building Company and said he started to get unusual phone calls last week.

"We've had calls from New Jersey, from Kansas City, from Omaha," said Southwell.

Each time, the person on the other end of the line wanted to know why they had received a sizeable check with Atlanta Building Company's return address on the envelope.

Southwell has told callers that his company did not send out the checks.  He got a better idea of the scope of the problem, however, when he got a notice in the mail that he needed to pick up a package at the Grayson post office on Sosebee Farm Road. The package was a priority mail envelope marked "return to sender."

"The clerk at the post office asked me, he said, did I actually send that letter? And I said, ‘No, it must be a scam of some sort’ and he told me he wondered about that because they had been getting stacks of these things deposited there at their post office locally here in Grayson," Southwell explained.

Since then, Southwell has received four of the returned envelopes, each one containing a check for more than $1,000.

The checks stated they are from FCX Performance, Inc., an Ohio-based company. FOX 5 News reached out to FCX, but has not heard back yet from the company.

Southwell said the signature on the checks also presents a problem.

"The signature is Dale Earnhardt," said Southwell. "So, it seems like if anybody really paid attention to that, they might realize there's something fishy with it."

In March of this year, the Federal Trade Commission published a warning to consumers about fake check scams. According to the FTC, scammers usually wait for people to deposit the checks into their accounts and then contact them to tell them the check was for the wrong amount and that they need to send the difference back.

By the time the bank discovers the checks were fraudulent, consumers are out hundreds or thousands of dollars of their own money.

Southwell reported the checks to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and said he wanted to get the word out that his company is not behind them.

"I don't want to be associated with any type of scam," Southwell said. "I mean, we work hard to put our reputation out there.  We don't want to have something bring us down like that."

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