Fake/counterfeit check scams
According to the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), nearly a third of all adult Americans have been approached with fake check scams and at least 1.3 million have fallen for it. With an average loss between $3,000 – $4,000 each. Read here 1.3 million fallen for check scams
Check scams topped the list of most complaints with the National Consumers League in 2010. Check scams complaints along with telemarketing and Internet: General Merchandise received the most complaints. Read here Top complaints with National Consumers League
Fake check scams come with many different forms but they are all similar. Usually you will be contacted by the scammer posing as a buyer or seller. You will receive a letter and the check in the mail.
You are ask to deposit that check into your bank account and wire back some of the money to the scammers. These fake checks will look legit, it will have water markings, it will be in color, and often your bank teller cannot tell you if the check is fake or not.
When you deposit the fake check into your bank account the money will actually show up. Making it seem like it is legit and if you wire back your money to the scammers for whatever reasons the scammer can come up with. That money is gone forever.
After a few weeks your bank will find out that the check you deposited was a fake and they’re going to take that money out of your account. Now you are also out of the money you wire to the scammer and you are also responsible for any banking fees that may apply or in some cases criminal prosecution.
3 most common check scams
- Lottery or grants scams
What happen is: you receive a letter in a mail with a check saying you won the lottery or some kind of government grant. To get the lottery money you will need to deposit the check and wire back some of that money to cover taxes, fees, or whatever reasons they come up with.
- Selling or buying items through classified websites like Craigslist
You list an item for sell online or on the newspaper and a buyer send you a check more than the listed price. They will give you different reasons for sending a check worth more than the listed price and make excuses why you have to wire some of that money back to them or to a shipping company.
- Mystery shopping scams or secret shopping scams
What happen is: you receive a check from a company and you think you will be making money for some mystery shopping. After you receive a check you’re told to do a mystery shopping and deposit the check in your bank account. Then send some money back through Money Gram or Western Union and send the evaluation of the customer service.
|Aug 2011 – Ocala police are asking the public not to fall prey to the mystery secret shopper seen on Craigslist.
On Tuesday, a woman went to the Ocala Police Department and told an officer she was looking for employment opportunities on Craigslist when she saw an ad for a secret shopper. Read more Watch out for online scam
|Aug 2011 – A man reported being scammed after receiving a generous check from a Craigslist buyer on July 26. According to the report, the victim was selling a bicycle for $150 on the website. He was contacted by a man named “McAllen Tx” who sent him a $1,650.25 check for the bicycle and was instructed to keep $300 for himself and wire the rest back via Western Union. Read more Monday Blotter: Bad Check in Alleged Craigslist Scam|
|Aug 2011 – “He got down there, looked it over, went to a bank and got a cashier’s check,” Eubanks said. “He thought there were some red flags, but he believed things were explained pretty well to him.” One huge red flag, Eubanks said, was the fact the name on the title did not match that of the seller. But explanations were offered. Read more Craigslist scam buyer out 12 grand|
|Apr 2011 – Winning a lottery is a dream for most of us but a number of people were told they won a lottery that they didn’t even enter. Financial experts say it’s a scam.|
|Dec 2010 – Check scams made BBB’s top 10 most complaint list. Over-payment scams typically target small business owners, landlords or individuals with rooms to rent and sellers on classifieds or sites like Craigslist. Typically the scammer pretends to be a customer, possible renter or interested buyer, respectively. The victim receives a check for more than the amount requested. The scammers then ask the victim to deposit the check and wire the extra amount elsewhere, such as to a shipping company. Ultimately though, the check is fake and the victim is really wiring money back to the scammers. Read more BBB lists top 10 scams and rip-offs of 2010|
|Aug 2010 – Local consumer advertise on Craigslist and nearly fell for a check scam.|
|Jan 2010 – Fake check scams targeting the users of the Craigslist website.|
|Sept 2009 – The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says the scammers are using fake checks from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue to pay for items sold through Craigslist. Read more Scammers targeting people on Craigslist|
|May 2009 – Thousands of Americans learn a painful lesson in banking every day: Waiting for a check to clear and then getting access to the money from a bank doesn’t mean the check has really cleared. Read more Fake check scammers hunt for victims|
|Feb 2009 – People are turning to online classified ads to make a little cash but that also mean more thieves trying prey on you.|
|Dec 2008 – Things you need to be aware of when you are on Craigslist.
|June 2008 – Thousands of people looking for work maybe easy targets of the check scams. It is a job offer that send you money in advance but it could end up costing you thousands of dollars.|
|Oct 2011 – Authorities in several countries have cracked down on Nigerian e-mail scammers, resulting in the seizure of over $2.1 billion in fraudulent checks. The National Consumers League, in conjunction with the US Postal Inspection Service, announced yesterday that 77 arrests have been made in connection with the scams. Those arrested were from Nigeria, the Netherlands, and Canada, although the organizations are careful to note that swindlers could come from anywhere. Read more 419ers busted, $2.1 billion in fraudulent checks snatched|
|Aug 30, 2006 – San Francisco resident Matthew Shinnick tried to sell a pair of mountain bikes on Craigslist late last year. He attracted a buyer, received a check in the mail — and ended up handcuffed by police in a downtown Bank of America branch and jailed for almost 12 hours. Read more at Check from a scammer bounces victim into jail|
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