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Fake Check and Wire Transfer Scam Prevention Tips

General Scam
Prevention Tips

  1. 1. Never give your personal or financial information to someone unless you have initiated the contact and have verified you know who you are communicating with.
  2. 2. Do not allow someone to conduct activity through your account. For example, never provide your debit card number or PIN or online banking credentials to another individual to conduct transactions.
  3. 3. Never send money (e.g. Cashier’s Checks, cash, or wire transfers) to someone who asks you to accept a deposit for them and send them the money.

Lottery or Prize Scams: Victims of these scams are notified through unsolicited communications that they have won a lottery or prize. Victims are usually required to pay a processing fee or taxes before any winnings are released. Often, victims receive a fake check as an advance payment to help pay the fee or taxes; fraudsters instruct the victims to deposit the fake check and send the fee or taxes via wire transfer. Once the check is returned, victims are left responsible for the amount lost.

  • Never send money to pay for taxes or processing fees. Legitimate sweepstakes don’t require a fee to enter or improve your chances of winning.
  • Do not deposit a check received for advance payment. Contact your Attorney General’s office to validate the legitimacy of the prize.

Relationship Scams: Fraudsters create fake profiles on online dating sites, social networking sites, and chat rooms to meet potential scam victims. Fraudsters build online relationships and convince victims to send money to them for various reasons (e.g. medical expenses, school expenses, and charity).

  • Never send money to someone you met online and have never met in person.
  • Be cautious of individuals you meet online claiming to be from the United States but are currently overseas “conducting business” or “in the military”.
  • Be leery of individuals that plan to visit but are prevented by a traumatic event or a business deal gone wrong.

Employment or Job Scams: Fraudsters utilize online job boards, website banners, spam email, and other websites to recruit victims. The job offers generally are advertised as Work from Home, claim to pay great wages, and targeted at homemakers, college students, and others who want to make a little extra money.

  • Most employment and job scams involve receiving a fake check as an advance payment to help pay for training materials or certifications. Victims deposit the check and send payment for materials, then realize the check received was fraudulent.
  • Be cautious of job opportunities that request your debit card or bank account information.
  • Never accept a mystery shopper job where you are required to deposit a check and mystery shop a wire transfer service.
  • Be leery of sending money or paying a fee or other employment expenses that will guarantee you a job.

Overpayment Scams: Fraudsters target victims who are selling items through classified ads or online sales sites. Check overpayment scam occurs when a fraudster responds and offers to purchase the item for sale with a check, then provides a reason for writing the check for more than the purchase price for the item. The scammer asks the victim to wire back the difference after the check is deposited.

  • Don’t accept payments for more than the amount of the item. Never send the buyer the difference via a wire transfer.
  • If you accept payment by check, ensure the check is drawn on a local bank so you can verify the check is legitimate.

Card Cracking Scams: Scammers entice victims to make "easy money" usually online. This particular type of scam turns the victim into an accomplice to the crime. Learn more here.