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What is a Scam?

A scam by definition is a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation. Very often scams involve check fraud or counterfeit currency. The victim may not know of the fraud until it is too late and they take a loss.
How do I avoid being the victim of a check fraud scam?

The only way to know for sure that a check is good is to take the check to the bank or credit union it is drawn upon. That financial institution will be able to tell you immediately if the check is legitimate. If all is well, they will be able to cash the check or exchange it for an official check drawn on that bank or credit union. If you deposit the check into your bank or credit union account, wait at least 2 weeks before using the funds or releasing your item.
The FBI recommends that you ask yourself the following questions if you suspect a scam:

  • Is the check from an item you sold on the Internet?
  • Is the amount of the check more than the selling price?
  • Did you receive the check via an overnight delivery service?
  • Is the check connected to communicating with someone via email?
  • Is the check drawn on a business or individual account that is different from the person buying your item?
  • Have you been informed that you were the winner of a lottery that you did not enter?
  • Have you been instructed to “wire”, “send”, or “ship” money as soon as possible to a large U.S. city or to another country?
  • Have you been asked to PAY money to receive a deposit from another country?
  • Are you receiving a commission for facilitating money transfers through your account?
  • Did you respond to an email requesting you to confirm, update or provide your account information?
How do I avoid falling victim to counterfeit cash schemes?

If you are selling something online and someone offers you cash, you may think, “Great! I won’t get scammed with cash!” Use caution! As consumers become savvier to the various counterfeit check scams, fraudsters are coming up with different ways to scam them. Law enforcement is reporting a trend in counterfeit cash being used for certain transactions, such as selling something online. Be careful selling anything to strangers, particularly if you are selling electronics or something that is in high demand.
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