Fake Checks and How to Avoid Becoming a Victim

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With the Internet, the world has opened up to us in many ways.  We don’t have to settle for local purchase prices on the things we want; we can purchase these online.  We can look for jobs in other cities; visit with family and friends online, the list goes on and on.  Unfortunately, the world has opened up for criminals as well.  Criminals who use the Internet prey on the unsuspecting and trusting, or those who are desperate or just curious.  One of the avenues these criminals have chosen is to scam with fake checks.  The general scenario is that a check is written for too much money and the victim agrees to send the overpayment back to the person or company who gave them the check.  Eventually the check is returned as counterfeit and the victim is out the funds that s/he sent to the maker of the check.  Here are some of the scenarios that we should all watch for:

Foreign Business Offer

 Scheming Suitor

Rental Scheme

Over Payment Offer

Work at Home Offer

Sweepstakes or Lottery


Basically, it comes down to the old adage: “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”  However simple as this may sound, it is prudent advice. 

When the scam happens, embarrassment may prevent the victim from reporting this type of crime, but it is a crime and the criminals use the victim’s good name and reputation to pull it off.  When a member deposits a check to his/her account, s/he is responsible for that check.  If it is returned unpaid for any reason, s/he is responsible for the repayment of that check which may cause a financial burden that may be difficult to repay.  Another rule of thumb is, if the check is from an unknown source-don’t cash it, report it to the authorities.  If a check comes in the mail from a foreign lottery or sweepstakes (or even a local one that you didn’t enter) then it is not real, it is a scam.  In addition, if you receive a check from Ark Valley Credit Union endorsed by "Nicole Good," it is a scam.

These checks look very real and a person can’t tell that it is fake or counterfeit until it is returned to the financial institution where it was deposited.  The best way to determine if it may be a scam is to ask the following questions:  Did I enter this sweepstakes/lottery?  Do I know the person or company that this check has come from?  Does this offer sound too good to be true?  Why would anyone pay more than the advertised price? 

To find out more information on counterfeit check scams and other scams, visit the tutorial at www.FakeChecks.org to protect yourself, family and friends.  As another old adage says, forewarned is forearmed.