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  • Geebo 9:00 am on October 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: check scam, , Tennessee   

    Are you in danger of this twist on the check scam? 

    Are you in danger of this twist on the check scam?

    I’ve been writing about various scams for quite some time now. One of the more prevalent scams is what’s referred to as the fake check scam. How this scam usually works is when you post something for sale online, you may receive a check for more than your asking price. The person who sent you the check will say something along the lines of the excess amount was a mistake and that you should deposit the check then wire them back the difference. You should never deposit one of these checks as they often turn out to be counterfeit and you could end up being responsible for paying the full amount of the phony check to your bank. Now, there is a variation of that scam which targets people who write personal checks in their daily lives.

    While this may not technically be a new scam, it is the first I’m hearing about it and it’s been a long time since I’ve heard of a new scam. Anyway, in Tennessee, an IT professional discovered that several thousand dollars were missing from her checking account. When she contacted her bank it turned out that some unscrupulous type was printing out cashiers checks using her banking account information. While the bank was able to return her money to her, the scammer used the bogus checks to buy a motorcycle off of craigslist. That means that whoever was selling the motorcycle basically had their motorcycle stolen.

    So how did a con artist get a hold of this woman’s checking account information? Well, if you write personal checks on a regular basis any number of people would be able to ascertain your account information since your account and routing numbers are printed on each check. Then a phony cashiers check with your information could be produced on just about any printer. While writing checks is slowly becoming a dying practice, there are still some holdouts. I’m sure we all either know someone who still writes checks or have run into someone who still uses checks as their primary form of payment. In our digital age, while not perfect, debit cards are a much more secure and convenient form of payment. If you know an avid check writer, please consider sharing this story with them in hopes of keeping their personal finances safer.

     
  • Geebo 8:47 am on September 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: check scam, , ,   

    Fake check scam hitting new highs 

    Fake check scam hitting new highs

    If you’ve been following our blog for a while you’re probably familiar with the fake check scam. It’s a scam that has been around since the early days of craigslist but has since expanded into other avenues. If you’re unfamiliar with the scam, a scammer will send you a check for various reasons and will ask you to deposit the check into your banking account then will have you wire them back a large portion of the money they sent you. The problem is, by the time the bank finds out the check is a fake, you’ve already sent the money back and you’re stuck with repaying the check amount back to the bank.

    Since this scam has been around for such a long time and has been written about a myriad of times, one could assume that the scam was on the decline. Not so says the Better Business Bureau as a new report they recently released claims that as many as 500,000 people in the US fell victim to this scam last year at an average rate of $1200 per person. If their estimation is correct, that means scammers cost their victims around $600 million altogether.

    As I previously stated, this scam has evolved into taking many different forms although there are many common ones. The most common is when you’re trying to sell something online and you receive a check for more than the amount your asking. Another common tactic the scammers take is tied to an employment scam, like secret shoppers. They’ll send you a check for phony expenses and have you wire the money to a phony vendor. Sweepstakes scams are another favorite tactic of fake check scammers where they will send you a check but you need to wire someone the taxes or fees needed to handle the cost.

    Any time someone you don’t know personally asks you to deposit a check into your bank account is more than likely trying to scam you. Another good tip-off to being scammed is when you’re asked to wire any kind of money to a third-party. Scammers have been taking advantage of money wiring services for years as in many cases they can receive the money anywhere and walk away with your cash completely anonymously.

     
  • Geebo 10:18 am on August 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: check scam, , ,   

    Old craigslist scam turning up on Facebook Marketplace 

    Old craigslist scam turning up on Facebook Marketplace

    One of the oldest scams on craigslist, if not the oldest, is what’s known as the fake check scam. A seller will list an item for sale on the questionable classifieds site then they’ll receive a check for more than the amount they’ve asked for. The scammer will say the overpayment is for shipping costs and will ask the seller to return any money over the asking price to be sent back to them. The seller will deposit the check and usually wire the money back to the scammer. The check then turns out to be a fake which ends up leaving the seller on the hook for the amount of the check with their bank.

    More recently a similar scam has been appearing on Facebook Marketplace. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that this new twist on the old scam has claimed a few victims in Georgia. Instead of sending a phony check for more than the asking price, the scammer is now said to be asking for the seller’s bank account information so the funds can be transferred electronically. Once again, the money transfer turns out to be a phony transaction so not only does the scammer have your money but they have your bank information as well which puts you at risk for future scams like identity theft.

    Any online marketplace worth its salt will tell you that if something appears too good to be true it usually is. If you go to the main page of Facebook Marketplace it gives no such warning. If you try to find any tips or suggestions on how to deal with unscrupulous buyers or sellers on Marketplace you really have to know what you’re looking for in Facebook’s maze-like structure of resources. There’s no link to click on from the Marketplace page. Instead, you have to join a separate community about Marketplace then hope to find the link that you’re looking for. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if scams like this weren’t against Facebook’s vague and arbitrary community guidelines.

     
  • Geebo 10:32 am on May 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: check scam, , , , Lincoln, , ,   

    A Capital city hit with trio of scams 

    A Capital city hit with trio of scams

    Lincoln, Nebraska, population 280,000+, was recently hit by a trio of online scams that were reported to police. Regular readers of our blog may recognize these scams, but as long as victims keep falling prey to them, it gives us the opportunity to review them once again, and discuss how to avoid them.

    In the first scam, a man was selling his car on craigslist and received a check for more than the amount asked. The man then wired the difference back to the ‘buyer’. The check later turned out to be a phony and the man was out over $1500 since the bank debited the man’s account for the amount of the fraudulent check. This is one of the most common scams when selling something online. If you receive a check that’s over the amount asked, chances are the check is a fake and should be discarded accordingly. In cases like this, you should always deal in cash only and meet the buyer at a secure transaction location like a police station.

    In the second scam, a woman lost close to $5000 after she received a Facebook message from a friend claiming to have received money from a grant in order to pay their bills. The victim paid the money to the phony grant givers for ‘processing fees’ before finding out that her friend’s Facebook account had been hacked. If you receive this kind of message from a friend on Facebook, it’s more than likely that their account has been compromised. You should contact them in a way outside of Facebook to let them know their Facebook has been taken over.

    Lastly, a woman was out close to $700 after trying to buy a dog online. In this instance, the victim was told to wire most of the money out to one state while paying the rest in gift cards to another state. Unfortunately, this victim was double-scammed. Both wiring money and paying through gift cards are sure signs of a scam and should always be avoided when buying something online. After the funds have been transferred in these matters, once the money is gone it’s impossible to get back and the scammers are virtually untraceable at this point. Also, if you’re looking to purchase a pet, we strongly recommend going to your local shelter or a licensed breeder as you’re also less likely to get a pet with health conditions as many puppy mills and the like advertise online.

    Again, while most of our regular readers are probably familiar with these scams, there are still many others out there that aren’t. We ask you to please share this blog post with them so they can be better-prepared consumers in the future.

     
  • Geebo 10:09 am on January 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: check scam, ,   

    The phony check scam revisited 

    The phony check scam revisited

    A man from Grand Island, Nebraska, has found himself out of over $500 after falling for one of the oldest scams that has been taking place on sites like craigslist almost since the beginning. The victim was trying to sell a piece of furniture on OfferUp and received a cashier’s check for $2000 more than the asking price. That should have been the first red flag indicating that this may have been a scam.

    The buyer asked the man to deposit the check and wire the difference back to them. The man followed the instructions and thought he was in the clear. However, days after he deposited the check, it came back as fraudulent. His bank is now holding him responsible for the $2000 he withdrew from the bank on a phony check. Sadly, this is an all too common occurrence.

    Stories like this show that there needs to be constant reminders of this scam and its ilk. If a buyer sends you a cashier check, be suspicious, and if it’s over the agreed upon amount it’s definitely a scam. Also, wiring money to anyone that you don’t know personally is always a recipe for disaster as the scammers could be somewhere where apprehension and prosecution is almost impossible.

     
  • Geebo 9:58 am on December 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: check scam, , secret shopper   

    Avoid the secret shopper scam this holiday season 

    Avoid the secret shopper scam this holiday season

    With the holiday season approaching, many people are turning to seasonal part-time jobs in order to supplement their income in order to provide a better holiday for their family. One of those positions that seems to proliferate during the holiday season is that of the secret shopper or mystery shopper. Many retail outlets hire or outsource people to go shopping at their stores who then report back how the experience was. The main problem with trying to find a secret shopper job is that it’s probably the position that is most connected with job scams.

    This scam can take the form of two other scams, either the fake job scam or the fake check scam. The fake job scam is when the so-called employer asks you for a payment up front for either background check or service materials. With the fake check scam, the scammers will sen you a fake check meant to cover your expenses. They’ll ask you to deposit the check then return whatever part of the money you don’t need. When your bank discovers the check is fake you’ll be on the hook for whatever money is used.

    Of course, you’ll find these phony positions mostly on unmoderated classifieds sites like craigslist. While this scam has been around even before the internet they seem to proliferate mostly on craigslist since they appear to do little or no research into whether or not thee jobs are legitimate. If you’re looking for one of these positions, try to stick to corporate employment websites or those of marketing firms. Always research the company as well before you apply.

     
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