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 ftc.gov/scams.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

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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.

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?

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?!?!

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

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..

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?

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 got one from Craigs List and showed bank who confirmed it was fraudulent check. Was told by police to no longer contact the person (he emailed me) and that it is a Federal Crime to commit fraud using the postal service. So, took to Post Office and they accepted it. Have no idea if anyone caught because of it.

Frame it. It's worthless. I went to police and local news. Lucky i didnt fall for the scam. Noone could do anything anyway. Hope all these scammers rot in hell.

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 frustrating......my acct is negative $1400 because of the first scam and I don't have a job!

So are you paying off the 1400$? And why did the bank not clear the 1400 if it wasn't you?

Could someone give me any information to help me with my situation just about the same I took a cashier's check to my credit union for a mystery shopping and they said it was good they cleared it and everything was fine and then all of a sudden I owe the bank over $1,700 and it's getting higher because it's been going on to three years now and I had can't pay it so and I also don't have a bank account anymore so I'm screwed

If you deposit a check and it bounces, you are responsible for repaying the bank.

Under federal law, banks generally must make funds available to you from U.S. Treasury checks, most other governmental checks, and cashier’s checks, certified checks, and teller’s checks, one business day after you deposit the check. But just because the funds are available on a check, does not mean the check is good. The bank might give you some funds, and later find out the check is fraudulent. You must repay the bank the money you withdrew.

That happens to me to don't know if the bank gonna press charges

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.

Your sister must research. I believe they are not able to attach Social security payments or disability payment's

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!

I have good news for all that got taken. Someone attempted to get me n I got him first. I owned a thrift store n was contacted through Craigs list. I knew it was a scam. I put the person through 2 months of stalling n leading him on. I gave him every chance to back out. I told him my store helped abused women n they would b so happy w the money. He wanted some furniture I had and claimed he was in the military in Afghanistan. I received the check at a p o box n checked it w my bank. After discovering it was fake I stalled again for a month telling the low life I would get in touch w him soon. Finally I told him I had great news. I told him I was enlisting n would bring the furniture to him. He was so mad he contacted me on my phone pretending to b the FBI. However I had never heard of an agent with a Nigerian accent. So sad but I was so happy to screw with him. I also sent him a final email telling him how disgusting he was as well as being a loser.

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.

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