Earn millions! Help a damsel in distress! Win the lottery! Work at home! Whoops, I overpaid – please send back the overpayment!
These are just a few of the scams out there. The average adult American receives 4½ emails, phone calls or pieces of mail per week attempting one of these scams. Thirty percent say they receive 10 or more a week and 18% admit that they or a family member have fallen for one of them.
The National Consumers League (NCL) recently launched a website fakechecks.org to help educate consumers about check-fraud scams like these. The website includes a "fraud test" and some great videos that show exactly how these six scams work and how to recognize them when they come in . Take a few minutes at home to see how many of these you would fall for. And remember, this is what these scammers to for a living. Some of them are very good at building a rapport and sounding trustworthy. They play on our inherent trust and desire to be helpful and courteous.
Remember also that in a check fraud scheme, the victim is responsible for the lost money and any overdraft or returned check fees. The fraudster ought to be responsible but given the odds of catching him/her, that is dangerous wishful thinking. The bank has no responsibility if you fall victim to check fraud like the ones above.
If you are a victim who recently wired money to fraudsters, report the incident immediately to the security department of the business that handled the wire transfer. If the payment hasn't been processed yet, they might be able to get your money back. If it's an older scam, report it at fakechecks.org.