Protect Yourself and Report the Latest Frauds, Scams, Spams, Fakes, Identify Theft Hacks and Hoaxes
We have many examples of fake / counterfeit checks sent to victims, with my different reasons for the check: to pay taxes on winnings from a lottery, as part of a "payment transfer" job, to compensate for some "fees", "for your past efforts", etc. You may even take it to your bank and ask them if it is real, and the bank may say "Yes" - but we can assure you: they are wrong, and when the check bounces - you will be liable! your bank cannot possibly know whether the check is forged, if it account numbers on it are real. Only the holder of the account would know whether they wrote the check or not.
The bottom line is always the same: the check is forged and if you cash it, it will bounce, and the victim will be liable for the full amount, any fees, penalties and possible be charged with a crime, from passing bad checks to fraud.
If you saw the film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, then you understand basically how this scam works. The scammers use stolen checks, often taken right from people's mailboxes, to obtain real bank account numbers. The scammer then prints their own checks using the account numbers, names and bank names from the stolen blank checks. The bank has no way of knowing that the check is a stolen forgery (unless the owner of the stolen checks reports them as stolen or never delivered).
It is an AFF / Money transfer Scam. They'll send you counterfeit checks which you are supposed to deposit, take out some percentage (typically, 10%) for your work, and then MoneyGram or Western Union wire the remaining 90%. See this page for a step-by-step explanation of how the payment manager scam unfolds.
Of course, since the check is fake, it will bounce a week or so later after you deposit it. But you have already moneygram'ed the scammers the 90% of the amount, and that is transacted almost instantly. So you now owe the bank for the full amount. You may also face criminal charges for passing counterfeit checks.
See these pages for actual scam emails received:
One of the reasons the phony check scams are often so successful is the scammers steam checks and checking account numbers of real accounts then use them to make the phony checks. Because the account numbers are real, the banks often don't catch the scam at first. The names are only matched with the account numbers later, when the real account holder gets the cancelled check. There are some simple steps you can take to avoid having your account used by a scammer: