Don't bank on that check

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Scammers know how to design phony checks to make them look legitimate. In fact, the Council of Better Business Bureaus just released a list of the most “risky” scams, based on how likely people are to be targeted, how likely to lose money, and how much money they lost. Fake checks were number two.

Fake checks drive many types of scams – like those involving phony prize wins, fake jobs, mystery shoppers, online classified ad sales, and others. In a fake check scam, someone asks you to deposit a check – sometimes for several thousand dollars – and, when the funds seem to be available, wire the money to a third party. The scammers always have a good story to explain the overpayment – they’re stuck out of the country, they need you to cover taxes or fees, you’ll need to buy supplies, or something else. But when the bank discovers you’ve deposited a bad check, the scammer already has the money, and you’re stuck paying the money back to the bank.

So don’t deposit a check and wire money or send money back in any way. Banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take them weeks. If a check you deposit bounces – even after it seemed to clear – you’re responsible for repaying the bank. Money orders and cashier’s checks can be counterfeited, too.

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Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


Iam interested in recieving them checks

Nice post!

I received a check from a credit union to perform work for a company who contacted me through my new business website. My daughter begged me not to deposit it and eventually the "employer" seemed anxious through her messages asking if the money was deposited and available. At this point I was sure it was a scam so I asked the rep how would she like the money returned money order or cashiers check and i never confirmed I deposited the check. Now she believes I have cash versus available funds in my bank. Of course all I really have is a fake check but it felt good to give her a taste of her own medicine.

Why did you just go to the bank that was on the check?

I received a Cashiers's Check from a Credit Union in a priority mail on Saturday, as the price for my car that I was trying to sell, and rushing to ship my car. I call that credit union and inquired by giving the details of the check I received. They said this check is not issued from that credit union and this is a fake check and told me that most of the people do not inquire before depositing the check. This Cashier's Check shipped from CA.

Same here, however I not only called the credit union, I also called the local PD.

how many do you want ? I have over $900.800.00 of them from dealing with Craigs list over 7 years. Checks . Phony Money orders, Etc and have info on each one .

I am in financial ruin. I called the bank listed on a check I received for over the amount I asked for. The bank Citadel in Pennsylvania told me it was a good check. 15 days later all of the money in my bank account was gone, along with theirs. I am being evicted from my home, I can't pay my bills, I can't eat sometimes. Bank of America really stuck it to me with fee and etc. I could have never caught up. I don't think I ever will. I'm at a loss, no one will help me.

Many people face a financial crisis at some point in their lives. Whether the crisis is caused by personal or family illness, the loss of a job, or overspending, it can seem overwhelming. But often, it can be overcome. Your financial situation doesn’t have to go from bad to worse.

Reputable credit counseling organizations can advise you on managing your money and debts, help you develop a budget, and offer free educational materials and workshops. Their counselors are certified and trained in consumer credit, money and debt management, and budgeting. Counselors discuss your entire financial situation with you, and help you develop a personalized plan to solve your money problems. An initial counseling session typically lasts an hour, with an offer of follow-up sessions.

Most reputable credit counselors are non-profits and offer services through local offices, online, or on the phone. If possible, find an organization that offers in-person counseling. Many universities, military bases, credit unions, housing authorities, and branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service operate non-profit credit counseling programs.

For more information, please see the FTC publication, Coping with Debt.

I am so sorry. THis has happened to me three times, but I knew enough to not put the check in the bank. I investigated the situation, and it was a real company -- but something in me just couldn't do it. I am so sorry hon. God help you.

Im in the same situation. ..noone will help me either

How did all the money in your account get taken?!?!

You're correct. CL is cash and carry only. Sad because for a scammer because this is a bum ears game They'll send 100s of checks to find one sucker who'll deposit it and be foolish enough to send money Just depositing it is a mistake. The only way to accept a check from a CL buyer is to take it to their bank not yours, verify funds and walk out cash in hand. If a buyer shows up with $100s in hand go to your bank to verify they aren't counterfeit. Sad that our "wonderful technology"breeds more criminals

I have a question about the Craig list one

What do I do with a counterfeit check? I was sent one and didn't fall for the scam, and still have the check.

Dan, it is no good to you so shred it. :-)

I think I would watch it go up in flames. It's not as much fun as watching real money burn, but almost as fun.

everyone of these people r in. a team they are all scamers k

I am interested in knowing what to do also. I had one come and did various research on the check itself and seeing if everything could be matched up to legit bank legit routing and account, ECT. I was able to detect a fraud but later received one that verification was made on everything. The bank said it was real and even after 6 days waiting to touch funds they stopped payment or something right after I finally withdrew. Wow. I am literally lost. I recently lost my leg and we are selling things to fix my prosthetic and now I'm out of more money. It still amazes me how cold and dirty people really are. I'm losing my bank account. So to ramble. Ty

you can drop it off at the bank and give it to an employee. Banks like to keep track of what counterfeit checks are circulating!

I knew it was a fake check and took it to the bank and told them it was fake, do they or can they do anything with it and was told they get so many they didn't need it.

I was scammed with a fake payment on my credit card! The card company told me to use my card, so I did! Then after I had used the card, the credit company told me the deposit was fake, so now I owe them for the money I spent!

Thank you you for sending me this information,

It's a credit card. You were going to have to pay it back anyways. I would see if the card company would give you a credit increase as to not harm your credit score since they said it was available.

The phone companies are scamming us as well. Take Verizon.for example, in the areas where they installed FIAS, Verizon take an advantage to charge a lot of more money, and other provers follow after them. I am wandering how you are reacting on their scamming?

And how about the bank where you deposit the legal looking check only to have the bank finally say it was fraudulent and they charge you another $12.00 on top of the charge for the funds that they said were good? Any way you look, you are the one getting the shaft.

A "religious" church deacon who is 75 played this trick on me.

Very Interesting and informative. Thanks so much.

I just received 2 phone cashier's checks from a credit union and I don't know who sent them. I won't deposit them because I was scammed recently. It's really acct is negative $1400 because of the first scam and I don't have a job!

My sister lost all of her Social Security to such a scam and cannot pay her rent. Please warm all Disabled and Seniors who are too trusting, uninformed and easier to be deceived.

It seems logical that if anyone receives a check they didn't earn, weren't expecting and it seems too good to be true, their internal alarm will go off big time! Just use common sense and don't let greed raise its ugly head!

Its quite easy to get something you haven't earned, when you thought you signed up to become a mystery shopper because your medicine costs 4928.79 a month, now medicare only pays 80% of that 985.76 has to come from somewhere, because that social security check of 790. After your 150. Insurance charge is deducted,pays the rent,lights and buys a little food, you cant get food stamps unless you give up 75.00 of your ss check. I know people who never worked a day in there life get a bigger check than me get medicare and Medicaid, i am not that fortunate, i get taken by crooks, and the lady at the bank looked at the cashiers check in the light and saw the water marks, i had called the bank it was drawn on ( but because it was a cashiers check no account connected) said it was a good check.until i find out a week later its not,so dont be quite so hard on those of us who have gotten suckered, you dont know our story!

Is the death penalty on the table for these low life's?

We can only hope!

People who look for jobs on popular job sites and post resumes on CareerBuilder for example are often victims of the emails offering jobs that are not actual legitimate job offers.

Immediately report any suspicious job emails coming from CareerBuilder directly to that site. That will help them investigate and block the scammer.

I got one of those phony checks, took to my bank and had them check it and they claimed it was okay ( a big name bank). I made them put it into an account I barely use (except to put some money into) and let it sit there. Took them about 3 weeks to discover check was a fake and to discredit amount. I lost no money in process and the scammer got no money either.

Once you've been identified as someone who's been taken in a scam, the crooks pass your name and information onto yet another crook, because they think you've gullible and can easily be scammed again and again.

Thank you, very interesting information.

it happenened to me also what a fool I was brett moore palm springs area craigslist

Yes, I was scammed and I am now very suspicious of anything that doesn't look right or is too good to be true. It usually is - TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE!!

They got me the first time I did it. But do they realize you not going to be a fool twice or three times.Don't fall for anything unless you check it out first. Go online to find out if it's real or fake.

I don't deposit checks I don't expect - if I know I don't deserve the money, I throw it away. Being gullible is not the only problem with these phony checks.

I had to job offers, mystery shopper got 2 checks and thank God for FTC they are aware of these scams and I returned them right back to the person and contacted these scammers​ and told them remove my name, email from there system. I to am looking for work and you see these job offers on major job sites and it's tempting because I need a job. Very sorry for the ones they have already scammed especially senior as they depend on that income. Thank you FTC for keeping up with them just catch these scammers.

Thank You for the feed back.

Great information...

I think the rule of thumb in these kinds of situations is if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is! Why would you get money for no good reason???

Thank you for the information you provide me. I was scammed once on a credit card scheme. I hope these people know that one day something bad is going to happen to them. What goes around comes around. Hopefully you Federal People can make them realize that what they are doing has some serious consequences. Taking the money is one thing, but the feeling that you've been taken advantage of hurts a lot more than the money they take, especially when you don't have much to live on

In the local newsletter received the other day was an add by ADT. All the equipment was to be put in the home free of charge. $28 dollars monthly fee was to be charged monthly. When the installer arrived he started the work and asked me to sign the paperwork. On seeing it I protested. Proceeding with the work he finally gave me a bill for $1516.50. I was horrirfied and said I would write a check. ADT had already take all the info, on my bank. I have taken it out of you credit card he said. I called the Discover Card and also Chase Bank. The bill was $606.82 Plus $28.00 month. I beg Discover card to not pay anymore. They said they could not do that without approved! Who me? ADT should be ashamed of themselves.

When a company doesn't do what its advertising promised, the FTC wants to know.

You can report this to the FTC at The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.


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