Happens If You Cash Fake Check – Just because you deposit a check and it shows as “available” on your account doesn’t mean the check is valid.guruXOX/Shutterstock
You just received a check to pay for something you sold on Craigslist or pay for your first secret assignment. Think you can tell if it’s real or fake?
Happens If You Cash Fake Check
Maybe you can’t – and cheaters don’t count. Counterfeit checks, often disguised as a version of a real business check, are so good they’re almost impossible to trace — even to the point of lying to the bank.
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About 500,000 Americans were victimized by fake check fraud last year, with victims losing as much as $1,200, according to a new report from the Better Business Bureau.
Check fraud is a “serious problem” and “millions of fraudulent checks are worth billions of dollars each year,” the report said. Complaints against government agencies and consumer protection groups have doubled in the past three years.
Counterfeit checks and fraudulent money orders are now being used in a variety of scams. Here are some common things:
All of these programs work the same way: A check or money order is sent to the destination to be deposited into their account. They are required to send some of that money to another person or company, usually through Western Union or MoneyGram.
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Once the check is returned as fake, the victim has already sent the money to the fraudster. In many cases, banks will not return a check because the check is bad.
Why do so many people send money to meet strangers? Because they don’t understand how the banking system works. Just because you deposit a check and the money shows up as “available” in your account, doesn’t mean the check is valid.
Government regulations require banks to issue such funds within a day or two, in most cases. However, if the check is found to be fraudulent, the bank reserves the right to charge the account holder back, which may take a week or two.
“Fraudsters are well versed in the banking system and are taking advantage of it,” said Stephen Baker, BBB’s international research expert. “He’s very cunning and you can see how anyone would fall for him.”
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Another caveat: Cashier’s checks are supposed to be good as cash, but they are also being counterfeited to be used in this scam.
Cathy Derrick, who lives in the suburbs of Chicago, has limited experience in business as an assistant, and is still being hired for $2,000.
“I think they’re awesome people, they feel very smart and they know what they’re doing,” Derrick told NBC News BETTER.
Derrick contacted a well-known technology company through LinkedIn to work from home. The email was professional, the online chat went well and he got a good hourly rate.
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At first, Derrick had to buy furniture and office supplies from one of the company’s vendors (actually Crooks) and was sent several checks to pay for them. Derrick deposited it, waited for the money to appear in his account, and then withdrew the money.
The equipment never arrived and no work was done, but the bank froze his personal checking account for three months while it investigated why he deposited the bad checks. Eventually, the situation was resolved, but the bank did not return the $2,000 to his account.
“No red flags. They looked like checks from a real company with the name and signature of a real HR manager on them,” Derrick said.
The BBB warns that counterfeit checks are widely used in consumer fraud. Fraudsters send checks and orders through courier services to make the first order appear legitimate.
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Mark Michelson received a $2,367 “Mystery Shopper” letter and cashier’s check via FedEx. The fake check looked genuine and the letter falsely stated that the company was BBB Accredited and a member of the Mystery Shopper Association (MSPA).
Michelson, who runs a marketing research firm in Atlanta, started MSPA in 1997 to fight fraud, so he knew it was a scam. He decided to play to see what would happen.
For this task, she was asked to take $257 and go shopping. After making a few purchases at a local store and reviewing the experience, he was supposed to receive $2,000 in cash and send it to another mystery shopper (assistant) to complete his task.
Michelson told NBC News BETTER after speaking with the company’s fake mystery business.
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“They kept insisting, texting me two or three times a day: ‘Send the money immediately’,” he recalled, “Our customers are waiting, we have to finish now.” “
Five days later, the bank informs him that the cashier’s check is fake. Had he followed through on his mandate, Michelson would have lost $2,110.
Anytime someone you don’t know sends you a check or money order and tells you to deposit the check or send someone else money – stop and ask yourself, is there a legitimate business asking for this? ? Simple answer: No.
At the very least, call the Better Business Bureau and ask them for advice. You can also find various resources online:
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Want more tips like this? NBC GOOD News is dedicated to finding ways to live a simpler, healthier and smarter life. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And they clearly state, “Don’t save a check.”
Scammers, of course, know that we all look for ways to make extra money – maybe by selling old appliances, maybe by using a mystery shopper, maybe by wrapping a car in an ad, or maybe by pretending that it actually won an award. and confirmation.
Problem: Fraudsters use the banking system to pass fake checks that may appear genuine. It’s true that you can send a small amount of money when you ask. Of course.
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Think you’ll never fall for it? According to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel report, consumers reported losing nearly $25 million to fraudulent scams in 2017. Last year, the FTC received 24,437 complaints.
According to Melanie Duquesnel, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Michigan, small businesses are the most vulnerable to mobile banking technology.
But if the bank decides that there is not enough money in this account, it can return the deposited money after a few weeks.
“The money the victim sent to the scam is gone and must be returned to the bank,” he said.
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Of course, in many cases, bank employees are on the front lines of fraud detection and reporting to victims. They look for common signs, such as suspicious checks for amounts between $1,200 and 2,000. Track numbers can be intercepted. Otherwise, the check box may appear fine. A check may appear to be missing because the customer rarely makes a deposit.
State banking regulations require that when a person deposits a check into an account, the bank must deposit the money immediately — often within a day or two, though there are exceptions, according to a recent study released by the Better Business Bureau.
To make matters worse, cashier’s checks and money orders are considered money orders, and if the check is less than $5,000, the bank must pay the account within 24 hours.
So is this check related to the lottery? Are you hiring as a “mystery shopper” at the same store?
Mobile Deposit Scams
A college student in Oakland, California received an email paying him $250 a week to drive his car wrapped around a mountain ad. As part of the deal, he received a check for $4,850, according to the BBB report.
After seeing that the check cleared, he was able to withdraw $3,500 the next day to deposit it into the bank account of the so-called “category expert.”
He didn’t suspect it was a problem until she took the $500 and told him to put it on an iTunes gift card. He questioned the process and did not put the $500 in the gift card.
But he lost $3,500 to the scam when the check was fake and he had deposited the money into another account, according to the BBB report.
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Another student in Kansas
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