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Counterfeit Checks

Crafted with deceptive intent to illicitly seize money from an individual.

Counterfeit Checks Fraud Hero Image

Members are often sent counterfeit checks under various pretenses and asked to wire the sender money from the proceeds of the check. The check, of course, will bounce, leaving your account negative in the amount of money you send the scammer. You can recognize this type of fraud based on the reasons the scammers give for sending you the check. These include sending a check from a company at which you don’t work, or for items you sold online via Craigslist, OfferUp, Mercari or another digital marketplace. In the latter case, you should be suspicious if the amount on the check is for more than the item is actually worth. Alternatively, victims are asked to purchase gift cards with the fraudulent check, and then email the numbers on the back of the gift cards to the sender. Shortly thereafter, the member discovers the check they received to make the card purchases was fraudulent.

Types of fake checks scams:
  • Mystery Shopping - Fraudsters pose as employers offering mystery shopper roles, instructing you to assess retailers selling gift cards, money orders, or wire transfer services. They send a check, urging you to deposit it and wire funds elsewhere, only for the money to vanish, along with the fraudulent employer. Stay alert to avoid falling victim to this scam.
  • Personal Assistants - Applying for a personal assistant position online, you receive a check with instructions to purchase gift cards and share the PINs with your supposed "boss." Beware, as the scammer swiftly exploits the PINs, leaving you empty-handed when the bank exposes the counterfeit check. Stay vigilant to avoid falling prey to this deceptive scheme.
  • Car Wrap Decals - Responding to a car wrap advertising offer, you're instructed to deposit a check and send money to supposed decal installers. Beware, as it's a scam—the installers don't exist, and your money disappears. Stay cautious to avoid falling victim to this deceptive scheme.
  • Claiming Prizes - In a fraudulent sweepstakes scenario, you receive a check claiming you've won. They demand money for alleged taxes, shipping, or processing fees. Legitimate sweepstakes don't operate this way, and sending money results in a loss on your part. Stay alert to avoid falling for such deceptive tactics.
  • Overpayments - Online buyers may intentionally overpay you via check, requesting a refund for the excess amount. Be cautious—it's a scam.

If you believe you are a victim of a counterfeit check scam, please contact our Member Solution Hub at 800-325-0808 for assistance.

It is also always a good idea to file a fraud report with the FTC whenever you’re a victim.

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