As printing and scanning technology has become more affordable and accessible, scammers are using counterfeit official checks, such as cashier's checks, money orders, and money grams, to defraud people of thousands of dollars. Additionally, the Internet has made it easier for the scammer to identify potential victims.
|Some common check scams to avoid
The scammer will buy your item, send you a check for more than the purchase price, and then ask you to send them back the extra money.
| Lottery Scam
The scammer will declare that you’ve won a lottery. They will ask you to cash a check they’re sending to pay for the taxes. Once you send them the money, they will send you the rest of your winnings.
| Inheritance Scam
There are a lot of variations to this scam. One version is that you’ve been left a large inheritance and will need to pay the taxes in order to receive it.
In another version, the scammer needs help getting their inheritance out of the country and will give you a portion if you help them.
The scammer will ask you to cash a check for him because he isn’t able to cash it, offering you a percentage.
Other scamming clues
If you have never met the person offering to send you an official check, beware. Even if you and this person have been conversing on the Internet for some time, they are most likely building your trust to take advantage of you later. Ask yourself, why would someone send me more money than they owe? Would I trust this person with my own money?
The bottom line is that if it sounds too good to be true, it is!
What happens to the money?
By the time you find out the check is a counterfeit, the scammer and your money are long gone. Money sent through wire transfer or Western Union is not recoverable.
As for the official check, once you deposit or cash it, you are responsible for the check if it is returned to the bank. The funds will be withdrawn from your account to cover the counterfeit check. If your account is overdrawn because of a check being returned, you are responsible for repaying the money.
Tips to avoid the scam
If you are suspicious about an official check you have received, ask to place a hold on the funds until the check can be verified as paid by the issuing bank. Our Bank’s security personnel may be able to contact the issuing bank directly to confirm if the check is valid.