These types of scams have been around for a while with many twists. Basically, where a “scammer” sends a fake check that looks real to consumers. Consumers then cash the check with their own bank account and send some of the money back to the company. Meanwhile, the check is fake and the person who deposited the money is out that money plus the money they sent back to the scammer. Below are some standard tips to help avoid being a victim of a Fake Check and/or Fake Job Scam, both which have cropped up again in the Tampa Bay Area.
Fake Check Scam:
Counterfeit check scams are defrauding consumers across the country, according to complaints filed with BBB and state Attorneys General.
The most common type of scheme involves a counterfeit cashier’s check, traditionally considered a trusted form of payment. Unfortunately, the advent of high quality printers and scanners is making it easier for counterfeiters to produce official-looking checks of all types and caliber, including cashier’s checks.
The problem occurs when a consumer deposits the counterfeit check in a bank account and, a day or so later, asks the financial institution if the money is “available”. When told yes, the consumer assumes that he/she can safely draw upon that money. That is not the case! Until the financial institution can confirm the funds have been “finally collected”, the consumer is responsible for any funds he/she may withdraw against that check deposit. The amount of time it can take for the bank to finally collect the money can vary, particularly with out-of-state or out-of-country checks.
In most cases, victims report that they wired money to the check issuer only to find that the deposited check bounced and was uncollectible. This has happened to consumers who were told that they won an international lottery and were advised to pay a clearance fee or taxes out of their “winnings” check; consumers who responded to work-at-home opportunities and were told to deposit a cashier’s check and then wire money elsewhere; and to online auction sellers who accepted certified checks for payment from far-away buyers and sent the merchandise, only to discover later that the checks were counterfeit.
Tips to Avoid Fake Check Scams:
Fake Job Scam:
Job scams have many different twists. Scammers may ask job seekers to pay up front for training, which never materializes, or they may "hire" you and send a fake check. The con artists will instruct you to deduct a fraction for payment and wire the rest back. Other scams ask you to complete an online application that requests personal identifying information and bank account numbers that can be used for identity theft.
Tips to Avoid Falling for Fake Job Scams: