Counterfeit Cashiers Checks; a Variant on the "Nigerian" and "Dutch"
The counterfeit cashier's check scheme targets
individuals that use Internet classified advertisements,
such as Ebay, to sell merchandise. In other variations,
the scammer contacts tutors, music teachers, and others
with small businesses and claims they want to use the
interested party located outside the United States
contacts a seller. The seller is told that the buyer has
an associate in the United States that owes him money.
As such, he will have the associate send the seller a
check, often printed as a cashier's check, for the amount owed to the buyer.
The amount of the cashier's check will be thousands of dollars more than the
price of the merchandise and the seller is told the excess amount will be used
to pay the shipping costs associated with getting the merchandise to his
location. The seller is instructed to deposit the check, and as soon as it
clears, to wire the excess funds back to the buyer or to another associate
identified as a shipping agent. In most instances, the money is sent to
locations in West Africa (Nigeria).
Because a cashier's check is used, a bank will typically release the funds
immediately, or after a one or two day hold. Falsely believing the check has
cleared, the seller wires the money as instructed.
In some cases, the buyer is able to convince the seller that some
circumstance has arisen that necessitates the cancellation of the sale, and is
successful in conning the victim into sending the remainder of the money.
Shortly thereafter, the victim's bank notifies him that the check was
fraudulent, and the bank is holding the victim responsible for the full amount
of the check.
You can go to this website and
verify the routing number on the check and get the bank's phone number, then
call the bank to verify that the account is real and the check is real.
There are a number of related scams, all that involve counterfeit checks.
If you believe you may have fallen victim to this type of scam and wish to
report it, please
file a complaint
with the U.S. government
Internet Fraud Complaints
One very real example of how this scam works (January 24, 2008):
Hello, my name is <name removed>, a victim of
counterfeit cashier's check, $3,800 under Colonial Bank.
I am emailing you upon to report the loss after filing a report on the scam
in police department with Case No.0901-XXXX.
As a 22 year old college student majoring in piano performance, I am
currently taking off a semester from Indiana University of Bloomington due
to my health condition and working as a private piano teacher staying with
my family in San Carlos, California. I have been posting up a few
classfields on craigslist to find some students; and that is where it
A lady named Patricia Galloway, who introduced herself as a 39 yr old,
divorced, and living on 52 North 10th street San Jose CA 95112 contacted me
regarding her son, Joe's piano lessons that she wanted at my house everyday
while he's visiting his mother in California during a month of Jan. under
his nanny's arrangements. Since she told me that she was a business woman
currently traveling out to UK (with an international phone number
+447045741262 as her contact info), she asked that after I get my Cashier's
check through UPS(from Inter Juncture Corp. 500 Covertry lane suite 270
Crystal Lake, Ill 60014, received on 8th of Jan), I send a portion of money
asap to her son's nanny in Conneticut, who will need the funds immediately
for flying into California with Joe. Having no experience or knowledge about
scams and falling into a perfect scenario, I deposited the check $3,800 into
my Wellsfargo account on 8th of Jan at San Carlos branch, after checking the
funds deposited in my account cashed out $2,000 on the spot, and sent the
money to his "nanny", Suzan O'leary, under the address PO Box 374 Stafford,
Sprinnga, CT 06076 through Moneygram so that they could come to California
with the funds. It was after all the trouble to take care of first
transaction of $2,000 to the nanny on Jan 8th that she started harrassing
and threatening me to make more transactions with the rest of the money to
different people such as Joseph Farias 98 north 5th street San Jose CA,
95112 and Reginald Townsend, 2201 E Willow St. Signal Hill, CA 90755 by
calling on my cellphone more than 10 times with a blocked number starting
from that night until the next morning and through numerous emails (that I
Realizing the situation and that all the money transaction requests are VERY
suspicious without any further information about her son's piano lessons, I
refused to do anymore transactions with her money and told her that I do not
want to deal with money that is not belonged to me anymore. I let her know
that I would send the rest of the money back to get my hands off of the
whole situation because I did not want to get involved into anything
So Patricia Galloway provided me with her uncle's information in UK, John
Galloway, 634 High Road Leytonstone London E11 3DA. I sent the rest of the
money, $1,565 (with deductions of processing fees of Moneygram and UPS) as a
Cashier's Check, through UPS (with tracking number 1ZR3793V0498024019) on
11th of Jan. with an expected arrival date in London as of the 14th of Jan.
It was two days after when the check arrived in London, on 16th of Jan, the
original check $3,800 was returned and overdrawn into my Wellsfargo bank
account that proved this case as a scam.
As a college student trying to make my ways out in a family struggling
financially, it has been a devastating experience resulting in an enormous
amount of money overdrawn into my account and finding no support or help
from Wellsfargo to put a claim or a fraud in this case.
With enough information about the case with different addresses and the
phone number, I sincerely ask you to take some time to look into my case to
find the suspect so that I can get my funds reimbursed as I also have
reported to the police.
Please let me know what I need to do at this point or if you need any more
evidence from me since I have kept all the information.