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Anatomy of a fake check scam

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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, a person you don’t know asks you to deposit a check – sometimes for several thousand dollars and usually for more than what you are owed – and wire some of the money back to that person. 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 need to buy supplies, or something else. But by the time your bank discovers you’ve deposited a bad check, the scammer already has the money you sent, and you’re stuck paying the rest of the check back to the bank.

The Federal Trade Commission receives tens of thousands of reports each year about fake checks. Over the last three years, the number of complaints has steadily increased, and so have the dollars lost.

The FTC’s new infographic, developed with the American Bankers Association Foundation, offers some tip-offs to rip-offs and what to do if you get a check from someone you don’t know.

Please share this information with others. Victims may be embarrassed to talk about their experiences, but you can help. A simple phone call, email or text, saying “Look what I just found” and sharing this information may make a difference in someone else’s life.

Want to avoid the latest rip-offs? Sign up for free consumer alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/subscribe.

Comments

Another way to confirm that a check is bad is to look at the routing number, 9 digit number, and go online, search bank routing numbers, to check the bank listed on the check. It won't match.

I did this with a check that I just found out was fraudulent about 3 months after depositing it. Luckily I didn't feel right about it so the money stayed in the account. When I received the check, I literally checked the routing number against the bank on the check and it matched up. Apparently the check was "altered" somehow to show my name.

I’ve been mailed a check, but knew better. They posed as a Job offer and I suddenly received a check as “prepayment”. I’m worried they have my address. They keep calling me so i blocked the number and I got a text from a different one with a threat “you’re in trouble”. Do i need to get a new phone or anything? It’s wigging me out.

No, don't waste your money. Simply block the number you get any messages from...every time. Eventually they will stop because you are costing them their effort and time with no compensation for them. Some cell companies allow one free number change so u could change your number, but honestly....Simply don't respond and block all msgs you even think might be a scam or related to one....they WILL go away , sooner rather than later, believe me.

I received a cashiers check from Pharmacare for $2950- and drawn on a real bank- in a Priority Mail envelope. But- as you know too good to be true- I called the bank and the company to ask why I would be the benefactor of this money- and they said SCAM! I am not sure how the scammer profits from this- but it's so real looking. BE SMART- if it looks too good to be true and it comes out of the blue- it's a SCAM!!

So i recently sold a tablet online and this person told me to text them and i did and she gave me her full name and asked me how much i will sell the tablet I said 350 but I lowered it down to 320 to be nice to her and she told me that she will pay me 50 extra she told me that she will send me a check. I waited for a few days and she texted me that the check will be there that day. I recieved the check and I opened the envoloped and it had $1700 on the check i also found a piece of paper that said when you receive this check you have to send your full name and check number to this phone number. I did do it i didn't suspect anything because it was my first time to have a check but then i texted her saying that is weird and i texted her that there is more than what i asked for and she didn't answer until the next day or after a few hours and she gave her excuse that she was in a wedding vacation so then what happened the other person texted me and told me to deposit the check I did and i received all the $1700 and the person told me to get what i had to receive and i did and then the person told me to deposit the rest to walmart and it had to be a 10 minutes deposit i did and i did it so the can have full trust on me and i deposited $1330 and the lady will tell me that the next day a person will come to pick up the tablet and she would also request to buy her a $100 itunes card and that's when my mom told me don't do it and i gave her a fake excuse that i won't be able to but the card amd she kept on insisting and yes I'm a minor and my mom signed the check and she actually doesn't uses checks at all so she didn't know the check was fake so now we both have this huge problem that the bank made an arrest warrant and the bank is accusing us that we did it intentionally and we didn't had any clue that it was fake so I would like to know what could i do in this situation?

Where can we file information about a scam names and numbers and such

"If it seems too good to be true"...know that you are responsible for anything you deposit into your account. If something seems questionable, ask your banker or for the advice of your bank's fraud department. Be honest about where you got the check, who you got it from, if it came with a letter, etc. before having it deposited into your account. Unfortunately, they often target individuals who are down on their luck or are so hard pressed for a miracle that they don't appreciate questions from the bank.

This is a deep and winding rabbit hole. Not every counterfeit check is obvious; some are very convincing reproductions using legitimate account/routing information. Banks are often victims of having their cashier's checks and money orders copied by scammers. Same with both personal and business accounts. A "cleared" check does not equal a "good" check because an account holder can come back and report an item as fraudulent after the funds have been released. Forged endorsements have a time frame of 3 years.

Other common parts of check scams including being asked to purchase gift cards and provide the card information to the culprit who sent you the check. I have even seen several cases in the past several months where the scammers ask for the individual's online banking credentials. They then use those credentials to deposit counterfeit checks via mobile deposit, take advantage of P2P money services such as Zelle that your bank my use, use your online banking to remove or change security features on your account, etc.

I received a check last week! I asked the bank if it was good and said because if it’s not I can’t afford to repay it, 2 people looked at it and said it was good!
This week I see that it was returned and that the bank is running it back through!
I pray it’s good because I don’t have that much money and I did cash it out and sent it to who it was written on behalf of.
I tried to go to the bank yesterday but all their electronics were down at all branches!
Lots of praying going into this!

Did everything turn out all right? Or was it a legit scam?

I keep get things that I won a contest 50,000 up to 500,000 but I have to pay a fee

I recieved a check two days ago in the mail.

How it started: there was a job ad on local Facebook group and I applied with the link they gave me.
2 months later I wake up to a text saying I should have recieved a letter in the mail with my check valued at 3,740 and I need to purchase giftcards valued at 1,000.
I called my bank to see what to do.
They told me to deposit and wait 2 weeks without touching the money. If it’s fake, they will take out the money and I’ll be given a $4 fee.
Just don’t use the money for a few weeks that way your bank can flag that check and look out for similar ones.
Hope this helps.

Can't you just take the check to Wal-Mart and cash it?

I just received a check for $2,450.35 to participate in a advertising campaign for 'Bud Light Lime'. I am to receive $500 per week to allow them to wrap my car with a bright green Bud Light Lime display. I am to deposit the check and withdraw $1950.35 to give to the person who comes to wrap my car.

Is this a scam???

It is absolutely a scam, They will use any well known brand, Rockstar, Monster, Pepsi, and use this same scam on a lot of people, there are a limited number of companies that can apply a wrap to a car and it is not cheap or easy to do. A company like Rock Star only uses their own vehicles to wrap as well as their own employees to drive the vehicle. do not deposit the check and do not respond back to them, block the caller and they will move on.Oh another thing I might add, if you are doing a lot of online job searches, or are retired or a senior citizen you are probably a good target for this type of scam.

My son trusted a longtime friend that told him about his cousin doing a business where he would deposit a check in my son's checking account and 1/2 the money with him. My son had gone through most of his money he had saved for school and did't want to tell us or ask us for money. So he gave his checking account info to the friend's cousin who passed it on to her boyfriend. He deposited a $2500 fraudulent check and then started withdrawing money. My son's account was also linked to his dad's extra account and they made transfers out of it and completely drained both accounts. My son did a stupid thing but had no idea it was going to be a bad check or that they would be able to get to his dad's account. The bank is being really rude saying he was "involved". He has a 3.0 in college, never been in trouble or even had a traffic ticket. He made a really bad decision but he is a victim. WHAT DO WE DO??

If your son shared other personal information, like his account passwords, date of birth, or Social Security number, he could be at risk of identity theft. He can to to www.IdentityTheft.gov and click the "Get Started" button. Then, he can choose "Someone has my information or tried to use it and I'm worried about identity theft."

The bank may charge fees for bounced checks, or close his account. He could talk with the bank about how to protect his information, or open a new account.

I need to report a scam , I have already called the bank from which the check was writtin on , no such company , that is a fraud check .
for car wraps , have check did not cash it. have all of the text message and phone numbers of person , for car wrapping , you make $500.00 a week , but you also have to pay the installer , and were including his portion as well , so deposit this check send me picture of full depost slip, then I will aontact the detailer to come wrap your car , for Smirnoff vodka .

Going on the fourth time since summer. I need a remote job due to disability. I signed up with legitimate job search companies. I received job offers, they send me a check to cover needed supplies. They try to pressure me to deposit the check immediately. I inform them, as soon as I verify the check is valid, I'll be happy to go to work. They typically feign being insulted. How dare I question. Just deposit the check. I email or call the bank the funds are to be drawn from. In less than a minute, the bank knows it's fake. I used to turn this over to FBI Fraud. Privately informed not much they can do,but, keep bringing them evidence. I do enjoy making the crooks uncomfortable. Just knowing they missed what they thought would be an easy mark, almost makes the annoyance worth it. So, if anyone sends you a check, tell them you're going to have it verified.

Thanks guys for these great posts, very informative. Just got an email about a job that I never applied for, explaining how I was the best candidate to print and mail out payroll checks from home. The email went on to explain in this elaborate soliloquy how if I buy a printer n checks they would reimburse me right away. They also wanted all my information and cell phone number. This is classic check scam, and I think if you send the information they are actually selling and sharing ur name with other scammers. That's how they keep the scamming circle going with fake jobs, fake checks and owing IRS bull crap. I intend on emailing back and asking how they figure I'm right for the job if they don't even know my last name, and supposedly I applied for a job at their company, nope sorry..

Watch out for the Jiver Monster Energy drink scams. My husband cashed a cashier check for 1,970.30 and sent them 2-money orders for 750.00 dollars. Now I'm in the hole for 1,970.30. I've got to pay the bank back this money.

I got an email from Walmartsurveyagent @ gmail. com. They sent a check for over $2500 & asked that I deposit in within 24hrs. Then, go to a nearby Walmart and buy a money order & gift card. Luckily, I looked up secret shopper scams before I moved forward. Thanks to everyone one that commented on this site!

I received a check from Mercury Insurance...The return address was from Volkswagen of America Group in Auburn, Michigan..The check is supposed to be a prepayment for advertising using my car with a big sticker on it..No contact was signed. Matt Call wants me to confirm that I received the check so we can procede. I am just a little concerned if this is legit. I don't know where else to turn to find out.

I received a large check in in the mail in return for a survey and proof of gift card purchase. Should I tell somebody about this scam? If so who?

I was dumped and kicked out by a long time boyfriend moved out of the city and back to my mother's house. In that time I decided to apply for as many jobs as I could hoping that something will come along. I used many job sites nd entered my number many times. A few days past and I get a text saying we have seen u applied for this job but the position is now filled but we do have another company who we work closely with looking for an office assistant if you are interested please contact (and they provided the email address). Me being so excited I text the number back explaining I was very interested and asked if they knew the location.. I got no response but i figured they was probably just busy or it was one of those automated texts. So I just went on to the email. I explained who I am and why I'm writing. He asked my name if I had any record. Where I was located all of that only thing I didnt giv was my social. Me being honest explaining I had a record from when I was younger but was used as my Y.O he didnt respond for awhile. After a couple weeks go by he tells me sorry he had business meetings but i have the job. They will send me the funds needed for the job and to take care of his flights because he was out of town doing business. He said they will arrange a in person interview as soon as he gets back. I asked the location I believe he said the job will not be office based for now because of his frequent traveling . But I would be as a call on assistant so like out of office one he would just call when he needed. He said the hours are flexible and I would be paid $600 weekly. I was basically responsible for his scheduling. Flights, programs ect. Me being young and watching alot of movies and wanting to have that job I see on t.v I agreed. He then said he sent the funds to start the job and to let him know when they would be available to me its sent it via USPS nd I did exactly as told then I deposited it into my bank and it took forever till finally I called and I believe they said they have the funds on hold or something like that then I got a check in the mail not for the check balance but for my little change that was in there b4. I then called again to see what happened and they said they have no account in my name. So I went down to my branch and the guy tried to help me he said yea I have no account in that name so he tried to open me a new account and he eventually asked did u deposit a fraudulent check.. I said I didnt know it was fraudulent but I deposited a check yes he said there you go. I said what. He explained that's why he cant open a account for me. I said is there anything I can do I have the emails and message he said no but you cant bank with us anymore I said wow are u serious. I said I had no idea I asked if this would go on like my record or something and then said so I cant bank with other banks he said no you just cant bank with us. That blew mines my heart dropped because I have had this bank for awhile now this was my first ever bank and I built trust with this bank. I was also reliant on this bank for my Bill's.. so then I was left bankless, cardless, jobless, boyfriendless, and afraid of any other job offers or responses I recieved. The email was a gmail account under "Anthony Nathan"

Question: I did receive a cashier's check for $1050 more than my item's amount. I realized it was a scam (even called that bank, and there were insufficient funds to cover the check), but is there anything I should do now with the check? My accountant said to tear it up; someone else suggested voiding it and returning it. (Further weirdness:The name on the check and the senders address on the FedEx envelope are not the same, and neither one is anywhere near where the 'buyer' said he lives.) Any suggestions? And fwiw, when I showed the check to my own bank, the teller said, "If this is a fake, it's the best one I've ever seen." But I'm sure it's a scam.

any one hear about field net global research checks

Yes, I received one the other day. Prior to receiving the check, I get a text message stating that they would be sending it to me. I'm a little concerned that they have both my cell phone # and my address.

Anyone heard of concentrix check scam?

just got a check in the mail 2 days ago, it did not feel right the person ask me have I got the check and deposit it . Was waiting for it to clear in 24 hrs. I told him that I deposit and that it cleared. He ask me if I had cash App or Zelle App I said no he then told me to go to western Union send it to a particular person. then he change it to send it somewhere else . He kept texting me to see if I went to the nearest Western
Union. I cut my phone off he was still texting to 4:00 a.m. So I told him to stop texting me that my Bank said it is a scam. He argue with me to tell me that his bank said it cleared and I have the money . LISTEN UP CLASS IT IS A SCAM I NEVER STEPPED A FOOT OUT OF MY HOUSE TO TAKE IT TO THE BANK. NEVER WENT IT IS A SCAM. IF IT SOUNDS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE YOU KNOW THAT IT IS NOT TRUE. I HOPE THIS HELP SOMEONE IT WAS FOR A CARWRAP ADVERTISEMENT FOR COCA COL!!!!!!.

I reported this to the Norwalk police department, the FTC, postal inspectors and FBI.

I am not sure if this is the right department but I want to describe a situation that I have and see what you would suggest.
2 weeks ago I received a check for $3,420 to utilize in a secret shopper job that turned out to be a fraud. I have the letter that was sent the envelope it was sent in I have any kind of receipts that was utilized and I'm trying to find out what I can do.
the bank that cash the check and made the funds available right away will not even give me the time of day. all the money that was in my account is now gone can I have a disability check that's going to come on February 20th and the bank will end up taking that because they cleared my account because that $3,420 check according to them they couldn't collect any funds

I do not know what to do I do not know where to turn I have a 12 year old daughter and a 19 year old daughter who's in college and I have no funds

What can I do!?

Im getting scammed right now by Mount Snow Vermont for 4,972.55. They sent an email saying I had to buy some supplyes and send them pictures of what I’m buying but it seems fake. What do I do?

Unfortunately I am a victim of this. I am a college student and needed money desperately to make ends meet and I cashed the check and didn’t realize it was fake until my account went in the negatives

There is an easy way to end all check scams. Banks routinely hold funds when a large check is deposited, even from your own accounts in another bank. All banks should hold funds until they are certain the check is good, then release the funds. If the bank releases the funds and it comes back months or years later, that error should be the bank's responsibility, not the customers. If the laws are changed to force the banks to take responsibility for their poor decisions, quite quickly no bad checks will be passed.

The laws need to be updated so no funds will be released until the check is certain to be good. And that should not take that long in today's world of electronic banking.

It is a poor excuse for the bank to release funds, telling consumers that the check has "cleared", then to come back later and say it was a bad check and pull funds from the consumer's account to re-pay the bank's error.

I suppose this will soon be moot, checks are almost dead already.

Beware of a company on indeed named Good Will LLC. I applied for an office assistant job and was emailed saying they already found someone but to email my resume to someone named Jane Michelle Roberts. Have me her email and everything.

She then emailed me asking me to do a number of things. She claimed she was 65 and needed a personal assistant to do her errands. She offered 780 a week and health insurance and a 401k GIRL BYE.

She said my first task was to buy a plane ticket for her from Toronto. She said she mad her client send me a check to deposit. Red flag. Keep in mind she’s never called or had a formal interview with me. Another red flag. Also when the check came it was In my name which was also very weird to me.

Also the company on the check and the bank was real but the bank was in New York and the company was in florida -_-.

Also the sticker on the USPS package had an address which I search that google showed was in the middle of the highway!!

If you ever feel sketchy about a check just google all the addresses. I also googled the lady Jane that was emailing me and her name does not exist on Google and EVERYBODY ON EARTH exists on google. Try googling yourself you’ll see how much information pops up.

These people are literally crazy. I never deposited that check because I knew there was no reason someone I’ve never met told me to deposit a check for over $2000.

Indeed needs to do a better job of keeping scammers off their website. The worst that happened to me was that I declined two real jobs in the process.

Be smart out here y’all!

Did they ask you to get multiple gift cards to pay the installers?

I'm a victim of fraud! I was job searching online and came across a work from home mystery shopper. I contacted the guy and he said everything was legal and that he bought into a franchise group of "mycurrencyexchange.com" based in Illinois. He seemed really legit and even his Instagram had testimonials. I was duped into giving him my bank info as HE deposited fake checks and told me to wire him money back and I was to keep some funds as payment. Few days down the line and the checks bounced back as fake and now I owe the bank around $3,000. And that's when I knew it was a scam. I had no idea about scams like this until after it happened to me. The fraud dept of my bank thinks I deposited it and wont believe me. Going to a branch soon to bring this up with them and arrange a payment plan. It sucks and you feel lonely like you're the one that did a scam but were actually a victim. Scammer gets away with free money living their life and leaving you negative balance feeling depressed. Any tips before I go to the bank?

If you need to pay someone else from the check for materials via Western Union. Your scammed. Don't deposit the check. Look for the police.

I was alerted to my fake check scam because the company name was Z, the name on the check was Y, and the name on the envelope was X. A friend or frenemy told me about a "Virtual Assistant" job. I hope she was caught and arrested. www. iremigre. com/

What to do if the scammers keep contacting you about depositing the check? It scares me a little.

Hello All

There is a new way people have found to send you checks , they ask to send your details to send a check and wire transfer money back to their account

They have long messages send to your email , in a way to convince you that they are True

Pls dont get lured by them

Thanks

Anyone hear of a company called Xerox in Singapore?

I was selling a pair of Designer Sneakers online for $1100 and they reached out on the app and said they would pay $1300 if I held it for them.
Next thing I know I receive a check for $2550 mailed from Illinois, but the envelope stamp is Georgia, and the business is Maryland, but I had already deposited then funds, The buyer asks for the amount sent over the agreed amount and I stop responding to them. I’m going to the bank and police tomorrow because now they have my name address and phone number. Plus I realize I deposited a phone check today. I sell clothes regularly and this is the first and last time I will accept a check. Lesson learned.

I received a check for $4000.00 from SunTrust bank (no address on check), but it looked official. No company name. The return address on the Priority Mail envelope was someone I did not know. There was nothing with the check. I was recently a victim of a work from home scam so I didn't deposit the check. Not to mention my bank account has been under attack for a couple of years. I reported the mail fraud to the USPS and reported check fraud to the FTC. I will also report it to SunTrust bank fraud dept. There is a site for the Federal Reserve where you can verify routing numbers and the routing number appears to be invalid. Scammers are getting smarter by the day so we have to be on our toes. Never cash a check you didn't earn.

I received a $4900 check drawn on the bank of Colorado. It arrived in a 9 x 12 USPS Priority Mail envelope. It was delivered by the USPS. Inside the envelope was a check payable to me for $4900. Nothing else just the check. My personal banker said he would not accept the check if presented for deposit. I called the bank of Colorado for their take on this check. We went through all the numbers on the check. The routing numbers were correct but the rest of the numbers were bogus the check was declared fake.
Had I not investigated the legitimacy of the check, deposited it in my acct and spent the money, I would end up owing my bank $4900. I hope you will publish this in your comments sections. I did tear up the check but still have the pieces along with the USPS envelope.

I'm unemployed, and was looking for a job. But the person "hiring" me didn't even work for the company, and there was no job in the first place, first of all, and second of all, this guy used Hangouts to communicate. The guy sent me a check and told me to send most of it to an address in the form of fake money orders. I of course smelled the rat, but accepted the check anyway and decided I wasn't going to go through with the money orders and that I'd just keep the money. But the fact is, the check never went through, so IDK what the deal was. If he sent me a bad check on purpose, he sure was dumb about it because he didn't get a penny out of me. The fact is though, that I spent $200 I desperately needed. So now I have negative $200, and this guy didn't even get anything from me. This guy called *me* "uNeThIcAl" even though he didn't even deliver on his end in the first place. His email address is sm 0789292@ . Calls himself Steve Miller despite having an Indian accent.

A guy messaged me through eBay want to buy a OCT machine and wanted to pay by cashier check he send it via USPS with tracking I took to the bank and it was fake lucky the banker contacted the issuing bank the crooks number was 781-786-2663 but the fake check which was only suppose to be for 2500.00 was sent for 4050.00 watch if you get a person on eBay

I was trying to work as a pet sitter, so I made an account on this one app where people who needs pet sitte can text you through that app. I received a text on that app with a persons email. I emailed that person on his email and after talking to him I didn’t talk about any money but he started saying that i will send you a check I thought he was talking about after i work for him but when i got a check I went to a place to cash it out and thought that it’s an advance money and i will contact him after getting money but it was a fake check. Now he emailed me saying that I'm trying to steal his money.He have my address too so please tell me what I should do and how to prevent myself from this false accusation?

Thank you for all above information. You saved my money and items. I have posted a sale online and got contacted with an interest. The scammer sent me a check with more money as the sale itself with information that it is meant to be the "moving fee" which needs to be given cash to movers who will pick up "the sale". I truly believed the transaction is OK until I saw above. Once again, thank you!

Never! Never! I repeat Never cash a cashiers check sent to you in the mail for ANY amount of money you know that a regular job will not pay you. Especially through the mail and you can not meet this person face to face. Scams artist portraying to work for companies like telephone scammers portraying to be Publishers Clearing House asking for money for the shipping through The Federal Trade Commission, Vista Capital Partners and other names for position of Office Assistant, Vifor Phama portraying position for Customer Service Representative these scammers think they are very slick. For I have been a victim of scam, but no longer!! Be wise and smart. Nothing in this world is FREE!!!!

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