Avoid Counterfeit Check Scams

Unwitting consumers are falling for a new twist on the old “advance fee scam.” In this variation, a consumer receives what looks like a legitimate check in the mail, either as “foreign lottery proceeds,” “prize money,” or even payment for goods via classifieds (which includes Craigslist and eBay).

The scammer requests that you send back a portion to pay for fees or handling charges, or says they “overpaid” and need you to pay back the difference. The check clears when deposited in the bank. A few days later, the check bounces and the thief has got whatever the rube sent them.

The FTC advises:

• Don’t wire money to strangers.
• Throw away offers that ask you to send back money for your “free” gift.
• Only accept checks from people you trust.


FTC Advice on Giving the Bounce to Counterfeit Check Scams
Giving the Bounce to Counterfeit Check Scams


Edit Your Comment

  1. Scazza says:

    Or, cash the check, wait at least a week and if it bounces, you dont worry… if you actually get money… bonus! Never send people money for whatever reason!

  2. homerjay says:

    I hate to be the one to say it, but if you fall for this one, you clearly don’t get out enough. Or you don’t get enough spam asking you to wire money to Kenya.

  3. Boo says:

    It can take much longer than a week to actually clear the cheque. The bank will allow you to access the money after a week but it doesn’t guarantee that you are in the clear.

  4. MeOhMy says:

    Some banks will also stick you with the fee for trying to cash the bounced check.

    Frankly here in the 21st century getting a check from ANYONE trips makes my spidey sense tingle a little. But from someone I don’t know? Pshhh

  5. thrillhouse says:

    Another big area of fraud is counterfit cashiers checks. Never accept one without verifying its validity with the issuer. Scam artists will especially try to pass these off on Friday afternoons or Saturdays when banks are closed to give them more time to get away with your car or whatever they bought from you with the fake check.

  6. bluegus32 says:

    People who perpetuate this scam deserve to be tarred and feathered and then fed to a wild pack of wolves. These people are parasites who give nothing back to society.

    Makes me sick.

  7. Daytonna says:

    There is a sucker born every minute.
    A fool and his money are soon parted.
    There are no magic beans worth trading a cow for.
    If a deal sounds to good to be true, it is.

    For more words of wisdom please send 19.95 to paypal acount freemoney.

  8. jwissick says:

    I bait these scammers all the time. I have dozens and dozens of these fake checks, money orders, AMEX Gift Checks, and Postal Money orders. I got 10 fake money orders just today.

    NEVER deposit one of these checks if you get them. They usualy use REAL account numbers and funds get withdrawn from an innocent business’s account if they are not aware. The bank WILL remove the funds from your account when the fraud is detected. Or you could be arrested for passing a bad check.

    There is NO chance these checks are ever real. The security features never work on them (color changing ink and thermographic ink), security strips are printed on instead of being imbedded in the paper, etc.

    Some of these checks and money orders are really convincing…. Some are really bad copies.

  9. poornotignorant says:

    What part of “check clears when deposited” does the bank not understand? Either the checks clear and the money is yours or the bank should never use that terminology-they could say pending and the funds are not available. I always assumed a check’s worth was mine when it cleared. Why is that not true?