Check cashing scams all follow a similar structure of depositing a check and wiring some money back to someone. It’s the same basic process that these scams have followed for years and still goes around today.
In the connected world we live in there is no limit of places for check cashing scammers to connect with their victims: Social media, email, job sites, buying sites such as Gumtree, newspaper ads, phone calls – you name it.
The checks can look very realistic but they’ll never come through. Even if the bank makes the money available to you within a couple of days, that’ doesn’t mean you haven’t been scammed. Once the check comes back as fake – maybe even after several weeks, you could then end up owing money to the bank.
What do check cashing scams look like?
There are many ways that this kind of scam can work, though they can be spotted if you know the signs to look out for.
First they establish trust
In many cases you won’t just get a check from someone straight away. They’ll want to connect with you first and build some level of trust. Though it can be hard to tell when you’re in the situation, if you notice someone you don’t know doing this and talking to you more than is perhaps necessary, be cautious.
Someone else gets involved
A scammer might tell you that someone owes them money and that they will pay you by check. This is commonly for more than the sale price – an attracting proposition. You will then be asked to deposit the money and wire the rest back to them. When the check comes back as fake, you’ll have lost out.
Working from home jobs
A work from home job might state that you need certain office equipment to get started. You will be told to buy what you need out of a provided check and wire the rest back to the scammer.
Won a sweepstake
A common scam is to tell you that you owe taxes on some money you have won and that you must wire this to the sweepstake provider before receiving your prize. This is a scam.
Avoiding check cashing scams – general tips:
- Never accept money for your personal information.
- Never give your bank account number, debit or credit card number, pin or online banking passwords to anyone.
- Selling something? It is safest to accept cash, card or PayPal. Only accept checks for the exact same amount – be cautious if it’s higher or lower.
- After cashing a check funds can appear available within days, even if the check doesn’t clear for weeks.
- Slow down, don’t rush and don’t allow yourself to feel pressured when making buying and selling decisions – take your time.
- Check your bank statements and keep regular records. It’s very common for scams of small amounts to go unnoticed.
Worried about the legitimacy of a check you have received? Talk to your bank. We’ll also be happy to discuss any concerns you have regarding cashing checks at our check cashing shop – Pro Check Cashing LLC.