Marietta officials: scammer issuing fake city checks

- If you get a check that appears to be from the city of Marietta, you may want to double check the source.

The city issued a warning Wednesday that someone has been sending out fraudulent checks using their name and account information.

"I wasn't real happy about it [be]cause my signature's on it," said City Manager Bill Bruton, who got an email from a would-be victim questioning the check's validity.

According to city officials, both internal security measures and the bank notified the finance department of fraudulent activity on one of the city's accounts.  Someone tried to use a check with a number the city had not issued yet.

City Communications Manager Lindsey Wiles said since then, people from all over the country have contacted the city to notify them that they received a check that reads, "City of Marietta/ Board of Lights and Water."  So far they have heard from people in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas, though no one in Georgia has come forward.

"People are getting very bold, I think, you know, it seems easy because maybe they think the city wouldn't notice a small amount of money, like $3,000 being gone, but you know, for a small city like us, we definitely notice something like that," said Wiles.  "We're very lucky that we have good employees here that can catch that very quickly."

Wiles said the people who have received checks and contacted the city have had similar stories--either they got the check randomly in the mail or it was sent to them as payment for an item they listed on Craigslist. In both cases, the scammer included a note saying the check was for too much money and that the recipient needed to mail a check back for the difference.

"It's sad that we're in a situation in the world where we've got criminals that are out there trying to take advantage of people in the way that they're doing it and we sure hope that the word gets out and that people don't think this is real money that they're entitled to and then end up sending money to the bad guys," said Bruton.

Anyone who receives a city check they believe may be fake should call Michelle Collings in the finance department at 770-794-5434.

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