Beware Bank Check Fraud

Postal inspectors seized more than $2 billion in fake checks this year, which means people need to go to FakeChecks.org and watch their videos (they have several amusing warning videos, and then a few sad victim interviews, like the one above) to learn more about advance fee scams. Basically, anytime in any shape or form someone sends you a check for more than it’s supposed to be and asks you to send the difference to someone else, you’re getting scammed. Within days or weeks, that check will turn out to be bad. By law, the depositor is the one responsible when depositing a faked check.

[FakeChecks.org via Red Tape Chronicles]

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  1. ironchef says:

    brilliant campaign

  2. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    It sucks that he was victimized, but he could have told the “law firm” to take the money out of his check.

  3. Buran says:

    Wow, way to blame the victim.

  4. jwissick says:

    I bait these scammers. I have even seen LEGIT bank checks (printed BY the bank) that bounced or were fake. (bounced checks from online bill pay)

  5. MercuryPDX says:

    First, bonus points for the video not moving me to the comments page right away.

    A friend of mine was almost taken by an overpayment scam for a laptop she was selling on Craigslist. When the check arrived with an extra $1500 on it, she emailed the guy back saying he paid too much. He explained that he must have mixed up her check with one he was using to pay for something else he bought and to just deposit it and send back the overage with the laptop. That’s when she got suspicious and asked me what I thought. I told her to not send anything and to check here.

    She’s a Marketing VP at a good-sized company, and someone I’d consider to be very business savvy and intelligent. Just goes to show you that this can happen to ANYONE who doesn’t know about it.

  6. Don Roberto says:

    He’s right about Ph.D. Try finding a job with one of those. :p

  7. jgkelley says:

    Used to work in the fraud department of a 200-branch check cashing company. Collecting on these bounced checks was the bread and butter of two full time, well-paid staffers (they got no base pay, just a small percentage of what they collected on). Their salaries alone were in the high five-figures.

    Interestingly, if you cash a bad check at a check-cashing company (which I assume you would because a bank generally requires an account, which makes it easier for them to take the bounced money back when the check comes back stamped FRAUD), if you tell the police immediately they will in some cases tell the check cashing company to stop contacting you. We had numerous instances of a person keeping their portion of the check (say, $1000), supposedly mailing off the $5000 difference to some country/state, and the police calling them victims and asking us to leave them alone.

    On the other hand, in the right county the police will work with a company and show up at the victim’s door to ask them for the cash back on your behalf. Especially if the person has a record.

  8. Trai_Dep says:

    GREAT ad. Kudos to the people who made it, and to the victim who went public with their sad story.

  9. Buran says:

    @jgkelley: So you admit the company you worked for blamed the victim and preyed on helpless people. Nice.

  10. moxley says:

    Here’s the question people aren’t asking, but should be (in my opinion):

    Why is the customer responsible if the bank accepts a fake check?

    *The bank/bankers are the experts – they have the tools and know how to check/verify these things.
    *The banks are insured
    *banks get away with stuff they shouldn’t. Don’t even get me started on the Fed.

  11. Nytmare says:

    @Buran: People (and companies) who cash bounced or forged checks don’t get to keep the money — “by law,” as stated in the topic.

  12. Nytmare says:

    Is there ever a point where a bank can say “yes this check has cleared, it is definitely good” or are all checks in permanent flux unless and until it comes back bad some day in the indeterminate future? See one of the reasons this scam flourishes is that customers don’t know when the check actually clears. They only know when the bank lets them have more money.