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Educational Consumer Tips

Counterfeit Check Schemes

Author: Better Business Bureau

The BBB advises you to exercise extreme caution before cashing a cashiers check or money gram that you receive in the mail. Many of these checks look sophisticated and official. You may receive these in the form of supposed lottery winnings, sweepstakes, or uncollected funds, or in conjuction with a work-at-home or secret shopper job offer.  The instructions are usually always the same, and ask you to deposit the check received and then forward another check to an agent for the required fees. What actually happens, is you deposit a counterfeit check, and assume that the money is available in a couple of days. You should always wait for your financial institution to confirm that the funds have been "collected" before sending the check for the fees. Many consumers may not understand that when funds are available it means that the financial institution is required by law to allow its customers to withdraw the funds but the customer is still responsible should the funds not be collectible. If you receive one of these checks in the mail you should contact the local Postal Inspector at (513) 684-8000.

Questions and Comments

Comment Submitted 11/27/2013

Thank you for the info. I rec'd 2 of these checks overnighted by UPS on one and the other by USPS, with all the instructions you say.I will be checking with my bank and the postal Inspector immediately after the thanksgiving holiday weekend.It sounded too good to be true so thankfully I was alert enough to check it out before acting. I have been unemployed for 10 months and my money runs out like many others on dec 28,2013. I have $30 in the bank so the money they offered me sounded too good to be true so of course it is!Oh well, guess I'll still be homeless on New Years Day!!
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