In the last week, the BBB has received several hundred inquiries from consumers across the country, who received a letter and check announcing that they've been approved for a home improvement grant.
The letter instructs the recipients to deposit the check into their personal account, withdraw money and wire it to their "agents" to pay the required fees and taxes.
Unfortunately, the check is counterfeit.
Consumers who deposit the counterfeit check into their personal accounts and withdraw money would owe the bank for the amount of the check, plus any applicable bank fees.
In addition, they wouldn't receive any grant, or be able to recover the funds that they wired to the scammers.
These counterfeit checks bear the name of "Briggs & Stratton Division, P.O. Box 704, Milwaukee, WI" and should not be confused with the actual manufacturing company, Briggs & Stratton Corporation, a Wisconsin BBB accredited business in Milwaukee that is not affiliated with this scam.
The scammers are using a trusted company name to gain the consumers' trust, according to the Wisconsin BBB.
"These scammers have, in essence, hijacked the identity of a legitimate company," said Randall Hoth, president/CEO of the Wisconsin BBB. "If you receive a letter and check from these scammers, do not respond."