WHY “FAKE CHECK” SCAMS WORK SO WELL

THE NUTS AND BOLTS...

Before all else, let’s make certain that we have a solid understanding of the “Fake Check” scam!

The scam is wholly dependent upon the victim’s willingness to believe that a check that they are given is authentic.  The process involves a person unknown to the victim who asks the victim to deposit a check.

The check is usually for a considerable amount of money and appears to have the essential characteristics of a genuine check.  It contains an unconditional order to pay and is payable on demand.  It contains a bank logo and address, a routing number, what appears to be a genuine MICR line (magnetic ink character recognition) and all of the other standard lines, marks and signatures.

These checks can be in the form of business or personal checks, cashier’s checks, money orders or a check delivered electronically.

The victim is instructed to deposit the check and then forward some portion of the total amount to a third party.

The victim believes that he/she will benefit financially as he/she is permitted to keep the remaining/unsent money.

Unfortunately, these checks are fake, are counterfeit or are stolen and have absolutely no value.

It takes time for one’s bank to discover that a check is fraudulent…up to two weeks.  In the meantime, the victim has already forwarded his/her personal funds to a third party and will likely lose the entire sum to this criminal act.

With personal computers, elaborate graphic software and high-end printers, it has become difficult to distinguish between genuine and counterfeit documents…including United States currency.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

Never send money, gift cards, money orders or wire funds to strangers…especially following the receipt of a check from an unknown entity.

Be wary of third-party deals.  Deals that sound “too good to be true” usually are.  Never send money or a product without contacting the bank that allegedly issued the instrument.

Lastly, when you’re being pressured or rushed, stop and verify all information.