Because technology has improved so much, anyone may now create counterfeit checks and money orders that are difficult for consumers and even bank workers to detect as fraudulent. The individual will usually ask you to deposit or cash the check in most bogus check scams. Before you send anything valuable like cash, check, or merchandise through mail, you should only do so if you trust the person who you're sending it to.
In a false check scam, a stranger asks you to deposit a check—sometimes for thousands of dollars, and frequently for more than you are owed—and transmit some of the money to another individual. They may resemble company or personal checks, cashier's checks, money orders, or electronic checks. The fraudster may provide you with the name of a company that doesn't exist, tell you to make the check out to this nonexistent company, or claim that you must sign the check over to them. Of course, they never send any money, and once you transmit funds, you have committed identity theft and can be held responsible.
Check scamming is a crime that can result in serious criminal charges including felony offenses such as bank fraud and identity theft. Check scam artists usually target innocent people who lack knowledge about how the banking system works or what it means to deposit a check. If you are asked to deposit a check, ask to see identification from the person who sent the check. Also, be sure to follow all instructions given to you by bank staff members; if you don't understand something, ask for clarification before transmitting any information related to the check.
If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from your bank regarding a check they say was lost or stolen, hang up immediately. There are no investigations being conducted by your bank into missing checks.
Bank employees are excellent at detecting fake checks. If you suspect someone is attempting a bogus check scam, do not deposit it; instead, report it. Contact your bank and report it to the FTC or the Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker. They will take action against any company that tries this kind of fraud.
Companies that try to pass off bad checks as good ones can be charged with forgery. If you discover that a check you received is fraudulent, contact the bank immediately after verifying the number on the back of the check. Set up a meeting time with an employee who can review the check with you over the phone or meet you in person. Do not send money out of state unless you have verified that the check is legitimate.
If you are being asked to deposit a check into an account that does not belong to you, then do not do so. This could be considered forging checks. Deposit only checks that you own. Any company that asks you to deposit a check that does not belong to you is committing forgery - a crime. You should never give your account information to anyone who contacts you about a check. Never pay a check when it isn't official until you verify its validity.
Companies that commit forgery can be sued by their victims. If you receive a check that appears to be fraudulent, contact the bank immediately after verifying the number on the back of the check.
In a phony check scam, a stranger asks you to deposit a check—sometimes for thousands of dollars, and frequently for more than you are owed—-and transfer some of the money back to them or another individual. Scammers always have a strong excuse for the overpayment. It could be because they made a mistake, had a loss, or were sent too much information. Whatever the reason, they need your help paying it back.
A real check scam involves someone who finds errors on checks that you've written, takes the checks to an office supply store where they are cashed by bank employees, and the proceeds added to your account. This may seem like a convenient way for people to get their hands on your money without you having to go through the hassle of depositing a check or getting cash, but it can also be a risky business. If you give out your information (such as your bank account number) to someone you don't know or trust, you could end up with trouble if you write a bad check or if your account is not honored by the bank.
In either case, you should report the incident to your bank or credit card company immediately so they can take action against the person involved. If you feel uncomfortable reporting the incident yourself, ask someone else to do it for you.
Some con artists may even advise you to wait for the check to "clear" before sending money. When the check eventually bounces, the bank can take back the amount of the fraudulent check, leaving you liable for the money. A short time later, the bank discovers that the cheque was forged. It deducts the entire $1,000 from your account.
In fact, all paper checks are clearable. That means that if you want, the bank will actually pay any legitimate check you write. But because most people don't know this, it makes them vulnerable to fraud. In other words, just because something is clearable doesn't mean that you should risk it happening. Fraudsters use this to their advantage by creating counterfeit checks that can be cleared through the banking system. They then go around town trying to cash them, with each failure forcing them to return home and make more counterfeits.
The best way to protect yourself is by not giving out information about yourself or your account to anyone who asks for it. If someone gives you their phone number or email address and tells you they'll send you a check, ask for their name and address so you can verify they are who they say they are.
Finally, only give out information about yourself or your account if you feel comfortable doing so. No one can read your mind so if you aren't sure about someone, don't provide information about yourself or your account.