10 Ways To Fight International Fraud

The FTC has got 10 ways to protect yourself from international scam rings. The most important one has go to be to never deposit a check in your account with the agreement that you’re going to wire a portion of it elsewhere.

Don’t agree to deposit a check from someone you don’t know and then wire money back, no matter how convincing the story. By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. You are responsible for the checks you deposit: When a check turns out to be a fake, it’s you who is responsible for paying back the bank.

Just never do that one thing and you’ll be protected from most international scams. For more tips, check out the FTC’s article.

Putting a Lid on International Scams: 10 Tips for Being a Canny Consumer [FTC]


Edit Your Comment

  1. jdmba says:

    If people don’t know this by now … this article isn’t going to change that.

    • Disoriented says:

      Or you know, it may inform them of what not to do…

      People can be pretty stupid and gullible though…

      • The Marionette says:

        Unfortunately there are people who get informed and don’t remember to keep that info when a situation like this happens.

        I tend to keep up with info about scams such as these. In the end, if people don’t fall for the scams, scammers can’t get their money. Of course that leads to them trying to conjure up some more clever ways of scamming.

  2. obits3 says:

    You can help me fight International Fraud. All you have to do is send my nigerian friend $1,000 and he will donate it to Caring About Scams Help… Just right the check to CASH ;)

    • longdvsn says:

      I’d like to donate at least $1000 to Caring About Scams Help. Please send $100 to me now, just to get me started so I know you’re serious. I’ll get the $1000 sent back to you asap…promise!

  3. bonzombiekitty says:

    My friend’s sister nearly got completely scammed by someone via the cash a check and wire the extra back scam. She had wanted to move from WI to PA. She didn’t pull the trigger on it until she had a job lined up. So she got one lined up through craigslist, moved into my friend’s place in PA a few weeks before she was scheduled to work. Her “employer” (she was supposed to work as a nanny) sent her a check for much more than the pay they had agreed to. It took several of use telling her NOT to cash the check before she realized she totally got scammed. Turns out there were a lot of signs:

    1. Employer was out of the country at the time.
    2. Emails were in poor english.
    3. Too good to be true – more money than you’d pay a nanny plus no face to face interview or request for references (who the hell would do that when hiring a nanny?!)
    4. Payment before services rendered.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I think the first indication should’ve been that they didn’t ask to meet her. I won’t say that Craigslist is a bad idea to look for jobs – I’ve found a few great (and totally legitimate) opportunities through Craigslist.

  4. Macgyver says:

    This is all common sense, and everyone should already know this by now.

  5. Beeker26 says:

    Wait, you mean my new Nigerian friend, M’gumba, is out to scam me!??!?!

    • econobiker says:

      Ask him for the name, address, and phone number of the storage unit where the deceased minister of finance stashed all the millions of dollars…

    • hotcocoa says:

      Waiting to see how many more ignorant people will make some lame comment about Nigeria.
      How many scammers call me and tell me to donate to “The Fireman’s Club” or “Veterans of America” or to donate my car “for kids”? How many junk letters do I get telling me to give to some church and in return I get a box of Xmas cards for life?
      Let’s not forget that there are a bunch of scams being run in the US every day by your average Tom, Dick, and Harry.
      …Not someone named “M’gumba.” *rolls eyes*

  6. jeffjohnvol says:

    When I get a Jamaica number calling me, I know its a scam. I tell the lady that it comes up as “phone scam” on the caller ID, and I was just curious as to what the scam is. They get reallll upset, as if their rights have been violated.

    Or sometimes, I’ll go along with it for 30-40 minutes (if I have the time) and then tell them that. man they get pissed. hahahahaha.

  7. dreamfish says:

    Does this need ten ways? Couldn’t it be summed up as:

    Don’t be a greedy, unthinking idiot.

  8. jeffjohnvol says:

    Read the stories on http://www.419eater.com/index.php. Absolutely hilarious. The guy scams the scammers into doing stupid stuff.

    • econobiker says:

      ebolamonkeyman and scam-a-rama are another couple

      • econobiker says:

        Forgot to mention the one where the guy shipped a broken clothes washer filled with concrete blocks as a pallet of new A.N.U.S. brand laptop computers to scammers which required them to pay the customs fees to the amount of several thousand dollars. That was a great read!

  9. econobiker says:

    There are more than financial victims:
    The preacher’s wife in Selmer, TN who murdered him with a shotgun was the victim of one of the lottery scams. She was kiting checks between three accounts to try and cover up her mistake once the banks bounced the original check which she had received, deposited and spent.

    • Azzizzi says:

      I knew a guy that was doing that with three bank accounts. He was a friend of a friend. When he talked about how smart his scam was, I asked him what happens when one of those checks clears faster than the other. He said that’s how he ended up in prison. He blamed a three-day weekend. This was over 20 years ago. I didn’t think people were still doing that stupid scam. It’s pretty short-sighted.

  10. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    Don’t forget those phone calls you get saying you have “won a trip” but have to pay the taxes before they can send you the tickets. My folks get those calls 2-3 times a week and my Dad just LOVES to catch them at their game. They usually end up hanging up on HIM!

  11. Mercutio_Jones says:

    Mrs. Jones was almost duped into one of these when she selling Avon over her website. The scammer said they wanted to buy merchandise and have it sent to England. They placed an order and said a check would be mailed to us soon. Then they sent an email saying “their clerk” made the check out for too much money. Would we please wire back the extra amount, minus $200 “for your trouble.” The check arrived by Fed Ex. It was a $2000 check for an order that amounted to about $180. I took one look at it and it looked soooooo fishy. Check printed with Quicken software from a Las Vegas company. Address of Western Union to send the overage to in Georgia. Poked around the interwebs and found that other Avon reps had been suckered in by the advance payment scam. Sent the scammer a link to a website about it. That put an end to their emails.

  12. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    Besides #4, don’t play a foreign lottery (but you can make a lot of money playing domestic lotteries, right?), what makes these ways to protect yourself from international fraud vs just ways to protect yourself from fraud?

    One I have gotten as a merchant of semi high dollar items is to use their shipping company. They will tell you to email their preferred shipping company (biginternationalshipper@yahoo.com) for a quote. Then send you a (fake) check for the items plus the shipping quote plus a couple of hundred for your trouble. They then tell you to wire the funds to the shipping company. A bit more believable than my clerk wrote too big of a check.

    I have about $10,000 of these checks that I am going to frame in my store. Many of these were sent via overnight UPS or FedEx. The scamnmers have people working for them in the US that will send these. My guess is that they use UPS and FedEx because they are afraid of the post office getting involved for Mail Fraud. No US Mail, no mail fraud.

  13. FredKlein says:

    By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks.


    Get with it, banks! There’s this new thing called the Intarwebs. It allows instant (near enough) communication, world wide! When I deposit check #12345 from account 678910 at ‘Such-and-such bank’, it should literally take a fraction of a second to contact that bank and verify that check.

    • jamar0303 says:

      I always wonder about this. For that matter, why haven’t we all moved on to rapid electronic transfers? Out in friggin’ China I can type in the other person’s bank name, branch, and account number on my online banking and have the money sent out in real-time (same bank) or same-day/next-day (interbank). Quick and easy.