BBB: Fake check fraud on the rise
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – According to the BBB fake check scams are on the rise.
They say fake checks are used in a variety of frauds, from employment scams to prize and sweepstakes fraud.
Officials say in all cases, victims deposit the check and send money back to scammers. BBB warns consumers to be on guard against these serious and pervasive frauds and their perpetrators.
From the BBB: Scammers often succeed because consumers don’t realize:
- Crediting a bank account does not mean the cashed check is valid.
Federal banking rules require that when someone deposits a check into an account, the bank must make the funds available right away – within a day or two. Even when a check is credited to an account, it does not mean the check is good. A week or so later, if the check bounces, the bank will want the money back. Consumers, not the fraudsters, will be on the hook for the funds.
- Cashier’s checks and postal money orders can be forged. A cashier’s check is a check guaranteed by a bank, drawn on the bank’s own funds and signed by a cashier. If a person deposits a cashier’s check, the person’s bank must credit the account by the next day. The same holds true for postal money orders. Scammers use cashier’s checks and postal money orders because many people don’t realize they can be forged.
A Lexington husband and wife received a letter telling them of winning hundreds of thousands of dollars in an “American Mega Millions Lottery Sweepstakes.” The letter included a check for $6,000 to help them pay “insurance, shipping and handling.” They suspected a scam and called the BBB serving Central & Eastern Kentucky.
Based on complaint data trends, the study suggests that there may be over 500,000 victims of counterfeit checks in 2017.