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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.

Want to avoid the latest rip-offs? Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at

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.

Why call PD? Its a civil matter.

You still need a police report in most jurisdictions when you pursue a civil case. Especially one invoicing fraud where you may be required to report to the FBI as well.

As dumb as I am, I still recognize that an attempt to take somebody's money, undeserved, is fraud, a crime. Yes, PD.

Fraud is a criminal matter.

If the check is mailed to you it’s mail fraud and that is a federal offense....CALL THE POLICE

When someone uses the mail system to commit fraud it’s a federal crime right?

If it came in the mail give it to a postal inspector. I had the same thing here with a $34,500 check and they are now investigating.

This same thing just happened to me. I was notified through a LinkedIn connect and it was for a vacant position as a mystery shopper. I wish I had used a different address since this is a scam. The check came regular mail from Illinois. I googled the address it came from and it is a real home address. I don't want the check in my house, I want to mail it back. I don't want any harassment from the "so called person" that started this mess either. If I talk to the police what will that do? Will they take want to keep the check? This is so darn annoying!

I think I have the same problem. check from IL- then 2 attempted to be mailed from PA today. I refused delivery because luckily the postal worker rang my door bell because one of the envelopes were not paid for. I would be interested in your next steps.

I have been shredding unsolicited checks that look real amd they are coming from charities my information was sold to. The checks are small, $2.50, but depositing the check in my account gives the other bank and check sender my info. If the bank the check is drawn on verifies the account is active and will cash the check without my detailed information then maybe, but I have seen banks act strange and say yes then no to a check being valid. I had trouble when my wife passed with both names on our checking account with "or" between the names. One group said I could not use the checks but I could use my debit card and the other said the "or" not being "and" makes a difference.

I also recieved a check in the mail in a priority envelope, and it was for "mystery shopping " gig. I was to go to my bank deposit it, but i was to write down things about the bank, its cleanliness, speed , customer service skills and how many ppl were working. It was a census they said, then i had to withdraw the 2,711.50 , keep 300 and western union the rest to 2 ppl, THEN they would send me another check for twice the amount!
Well the check was fake, and i had contacted the credit union in portmouth Maine, gave all details and photo of check to a nice woman and she confirmed my suspicions....IT WAS FAKE! Thank god i used my logic and didnt cash it, and yes im going to be reporting the names of the ppl i was to send it to ,and the name on the check!

What if a bad check got sent to your house and they had all your info and threatend your life over refusing to cash it what would you do?

Call police!

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.

I too have that inner feeling that this isn’t right. I have the suspicious check to my CPA.

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

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

The bank just takes the money that they gave you and puts your account in the negative

I have had this happen to me several years ago I was looking for work and it just had started with secret shopper so call job. It was a new scam nobody knew about it so I called the bank and told them I was going to file bankruptcy but willing to settle for 10% of the amount I owed if they would let me and they did. It was a life saver.They also will give you like 90 days to pay the amount you settle for so ask it's worth a try.

Did it affect your credit

This happened to me recently and I actually believed it and cashed the check. I am just a college student and I feel desperate because I don't know what to do.

This juts happened to me today I don’t know what to do

This also just happened to me today too. I’m a college student and I have no clue what to do now.

What was the job patty because I feel like I’m in one right now and your comment is the most recent.

I have the same situation as you guys. I don't know what to do.

Same I don't know what to do my account got closed.

How are you doing now?

a fraud loan company deposited a fake us treasury check in my online mobile checking account he had stated he needed my information to be able to deposit the money he never told me it was a check he was depositing. he did this overnight.

Did you give them your login ID and password to your online banking? A legit loan company would never ask for that.

Yes they did the same thing from me calling himself proposal loans and got my info and did the same thing I have two bank accounts with two different banks and my one acct they deposit 3,000 and 2,000 bounced back to them and the third did the same after a couple days and my ither acct they deposit 420 that actually cleared I told my bank about it so he called me back saying i have to go to walmart and purchase a google play card so I knew it was a scam but the night before that I did homework research on the number he called me from a 619 400 number so I googled it on Google and let me tell u its registered as a wireless number by the name of Francine w

This just happened to me. They deposited 969.07 in my account overnight. The next morning they called and said to send it back on a google play card. They said this was to show a good faith payment for me to be able to get approved the amount that I actually applied for. So unfortunately, being gullible and in desperate need of financial help, I followed his instructions. Now the bank has sent the funds back returned. I called the my bank and they told me that it was a counterfeit deposit. So unfortunately, my account is 969.07 in the negative. And sadly, I have a feeling because I sent the funds back to them supposedly I will be reliable to pay the bank the negative balance. I have several emails, phone numbers, and their FAKE approval letter. I am soooooooo devastated and sick over this. Loss for words really.

Just hang in there. I was scammed through my local paper and it devastated my family. We had even borrowed adv pay checks to cover the "secured loan fee". I contacted a lawyer only to discover her own mother had fallen victim to same scam. There was nothing anyone could do. My advice would be to try to reach out to some local charities for assistance with rent, food, Etc. Best of luck

Legal aide is free they will help

Lawyers can't do anything because you will never find the scammers who did it. Sorry.

I'm so sorry for you. If it sounds too good to be true. It probably is..old school rule..

Bank of America did a similar thing to my spouse. It was over ten years ago when he brought a cashiers check to them and asked if it was legit. They asked him to wait while they looked it over and made a show of confirming it.
Finally, they confirmed it was legit. So he deposited it and waited over a week. The funds remained in his account. He started withdrawing on it and was suddenly slammed with fees when the money was taken back out. They then threatened HIM with legal action. No surprise, Bank of America "lost" the check when he wanted to take legal action against them. He was forced to pay for their lie for years. As he says, it is free money for them when we get scammed.

Your testimony caught my eye. Similar situation with BOA but unfortunately they pressed charges against me. I'm beside myself with concern. I was definitely involved in a romance scam!

Immediately go in person (they seldom answer the phone as they're too busy and they seldom return calls for the same reason--if they do it's often weeks later) to your county's Department of Health and Human Services (DHS). Go to their Emergency Services department (ask the person at their entrance lobby's information desk what floor and room number it is). Go first thing in the morning when they open (usually 8:30 a.m. but possibly earlier) because you'll likely have a long wait as it'll be crowded. Explain your situation and that you need housing and food and,if you need it, utility bills to be paid. Ask for a list of foid banks where you can get free food. Regarding your evictiin, also immediaty go to Legal Aid which is free. If you don't know where it is call your county's information line--sometime's it's 411 or 311 on your cellular. Good luck. I'll pray for you.

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

You still have those checks?


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