Fake check scams are a very common type of scam that most people think is outdated. Nevertheless, this type of scam is still used frequently today, and it is even more effective than ever. Knowing how to identify and avoid fake check scams can help you save time and money while significantly decreasing your chances of becoming a target of fraud.

The scam goes like this:

You’re selling a product online and you’ve just received a new order. Congratulations! However, the purchaser doesn’t pay online and wants to pay via check. This feels like a red flag, but you keep going. The purchaser contacts you saying that they’ve mailed you a check for twice the amount of the product and they need to you send them back the difference. (Red flag!)

The purchaser will instruct you to deposit the check immediately upon receiving it and send them the difference. This is because banks are usually required to have your funds available to you within 3 days, regardless of if the amount has cleared from the other account. When you send back the difference, whether, via check or money order, you’ll end up sending them your own money. This is because the check was fake, to begin with, and never had any value attached to it. Now, you’re out the full retail price of our product and possibly your personal information.

This doesn’t just happen to online retailers. This can happen when you purchase a car online, start a new business opportunity or investment, or even when applying for a home or apartment rental.

Signs of a fake check scam

The signs of fake check scams lie in the small details of the interactions.

  • The other party refuses any other form of payment
  • The check number matches the account and/or routing numbers
  • Your name or business is misspelled on the check
  • General misspellings or grammatical errors printed on the check
  • The other party is pushy and in a rush to get back the difference

Scammers will play just about any role if it means the possibility of making money off of their victims. To avoid being the victim of a fake check scam, make sure thoroughly analyze any checks that you receive and remember that in all cases if someone overpays you with a check and asks you to send back the difference, it is a scam.

If you’ve been the victim of a fake check scam or another online scam, the best way to begin recovering your funds is to conduct an online scam investigation. Get started with Active Intel today or set up a private, no-obligation consultation with a licensed private investigator to discuss your case.