Fake Check Scams

Taking a photo of a check for remote deposit

Fake-check scams cheated consumers out of more than $28 million in 2019, learn how you can protect yourself.

The most costly scams invovle an old-school tool – checks. Fake checks are a tactic used by scammers in a variety of false story lines. The two most common elements are that you always have to deposit a check of some sort and then part with some of the money. Be better prepared and protect yourself. Some of the most common ways scammers are targeting consumers are listed below:

  • Mystery shopping – Scammers reach out to people and “pretend to hire them” telling them that their first assignment is to evaluate a financial institution, retailer, or the shopper gets a check with instructions to deposit it in a personal bank account and wire it to someone else. But once the money is wired, the person on the other end can disappear.
  • Personal assistants. People apply online and get hired as personal assistants. They get a check and are told to use the money to buy gift cards or to buy equipment or supplies for their new client. Once the scammers get the gift card PIN numbers, they use them instantly, leaving the “personal assistant” without the money when the bank figures out the check is bad.
  • Claiming prizes. Often referred to as “Sweepstake winners” or “Grand prize winners”, people are given checks and told to send money to cover taxes, shipping and handling charges, or processing fees. But that’s not how legitimate prize claiming works.
  • Overpayments. People buying something from you online “accidentally” send a check for too much and ask you to refund the balance.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Never use money from a check to send gift cards, money orders, or wire money to strangers or someone you just met.Many scammers demand that you send money through money transfer services like Western Union or MoneyGram, or buy gift cards and send them the PIN numbers. Once you wire money, or give someone the gift card PINs, it is like giving someone cash. It’s almost impossible to get it back.
  • Toss offers that ask you to pay for a prize. Prizes are free, you shouldn’t have to pay to win anything.
  • Don’t accept a check for more than the selling price. You can bet it’s a scam! No check will ever come for an amount that it isn’t valued at.

How We Can Help:

  •  If you have concerns or questions regarding fraud please feel free to call us at 432-550-9126.

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This post was written by Lisa Wyman

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