Counterfeit Check Scams
If someone you don't know wants to give you a check and wants a portion of the money back, BEWARE! It's a scam that could cost you thousands of dollars.
How do check scams work?
There are many variations of the scam. It usually starts with someone offering to:
- Buy something you've advertised for sale for more than the price you listed.
- Pay you to work at home.
- Pay processing fees or taxes on money you are to receive from an inheritance, sweepstakes, or lottery.
- Give you an installment on the millions you'll receive for agreeing to transfer money to a foreign country from your account.
What if the check/money order is fake?
Today, counterfeit checks can be difficult to detect. Even tellers may be fooled. But remember, forgeries will eventually be discovered. If the check or money order turns out to be fake, you are RESPONSIBLE. When a check or money order bounces, you owe the credit union all of the money you withdrew. Knowing a check is fake and cashing it anyway could even result in your arrest.
How do scammers find their victims?
These criminals scan newspapers and online ads for people listing items for sale. They also call, e-mail, and fax people randomly, knowing someone will take the bait.
How do I protect myself?
There is no legitimate reason for someone who is giving you money to ask you to wire money back - that's a clear sign of a scam. If a stranger wants to pay you for something, insist on a cashier's check for the exact amount, preferably from a local financial institution or one with a branch in your area. You can also call the financial institution, and attempt to verify issuance of the check. Be sure to use a phone number that is independently obtained. Never call the number preprinted on the check. Ultimately, if you are suspicious, don't hesitate to show it to a branch employee who can help verify the check.
If you think someone has given you a counterfeit check, don't deposit it - report it!
Contact us for help.