Don't bank on that check

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

Comments

Iam interested in recieving them checks

Nice post!

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. :-)

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

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!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Got a 1836 check from "mystery-shopper' scammer. Fortunately I felt it sounded too good to be true since I didn't seek employment with them. The usual scam you get 300 for sending 80 percent through Moneygram to someone you do not know. Please don't fall for these crooks - file a complaint with us postal as well as your states attorney. What you get is taken for bank fees - and the $$ you send on that will come out of your acct.

i was frauded 8 times they​ would be a simple thing such as a bicycle they send me a 3400$ check want me to get the money i need tjen give the rest to a cod shipper

Leave a Comment

Comment Policy

Read Our Privacy Act Statement

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.