Fake Check Scams

How do fake check scams work?

There are many variations of the scam. It usually starts with someone offering to: 

  • Buy something you advertised for sale.
  • Pay you to work at home.
  • Give you an “advance” on a sweepstakes you’ve won.
  • Give you the first installment on the millions you’ll receive for agreeing to transfer money in a foreign country to your bank account for safekeeping.

The scammers often claim to be in other countries and say it’s too difficult to pay you directly, so they’ll have someone in the U.S. who owes them money send you a check or money order.  The amount of the check or money order may be more than you’re owed, so you’re instructed to deposit it and wire the rest to the scammer or to someone else. In some cases, the scammer promises to transfer money directly to your bank account. You provide your account information for an electronic fund transfer. Instead, the crook sends your bank a phony check or money order with instructions to deposit it in your account. When you check your balance, it looks like the funds have arrived. Whatever the set-up, the result is the same — after you’ve wired the money, you find out that the check or money order has bounced.