AMITE, La.-- It came via overnight priority from FedEx -- a check purportedly worth a couple of thousand dollars, about the same amount Jessica Perkins expected in her income tax refund.
"We were assuming it was my income tax check because I filed online and was waiting on a check to come in," said Perkins of Amite.
She glanced at the check and went to Walmart to cash it -- only the check would not go through. That is when Perkins said she took a closer look at it.
"I noticed different things: [it said] 'paycheck,' bank is in a completely different state than the other place," she said.
She realized it was not her tax refund check. Curious as to where it came from, she called the number listed on the FedEx package. It turned out to be a printing company in New Jersey and they told Perkins she wasn't the only to have called: someone was using their company's FedEx number to mail fraudulent checks.
"They do use well known companies and that's how they get you into this," said Cynthia Albert with the Southeast Louisiana office of the Better Business Bureau.
Albert said check scams have become increasingly more sophisticated over time. In Perkins' case, she caught on to the scam before any real damage could be done.
"I think the con artist would have contacted her and told her that a certain amount of that check would have to be sent back," Albert said. "And they always say to wire it because it's very difficult to track it that way."
Jessica Perkins said it is a lesson learned and something she doesn't want to see happen to others.
"Everything seemed to be so authentic and it's not," she said. "It's all fraud."
As to how the scammer may have acquired information about Perkins, she said she had recently applied for employment online. The Better Business Bureau warns to be careful when filling out an online job application because you can never be sure who is going to see it. More information from the BBB can be found here.