Word of the Week: Scam

Word of the Week: Scam

Fake Check Scam - Fake Check in the Mail

1 Easy Tip to Avoid Receiving a Bad Check

The era of the fake check scam is not past and gone, as it still claims victims. My own recent experience prompted me to share my story of the promise of a (fake) check in the mail. Knowing what they were up to I by all means was not going to take them up on the offer, but instead was excited to share the news with you - lol - as it gave me a new article topic for Money Illusions.

Fake check in the mail scam works like this...

With the need to downsize some items I listed an item for sale on a popular site for selling stuff. The next day I received a text message from a potential buyer. Their question was fairly normal communication that one would anticipate from a prospect to a seller; "Do you still have the item available?" Assuming it may be a legit customer I responded with a simple, "Yes, I still have it available." I didn't hear back from them until the next day when they responded with another text, "Okay! I don't have any issue with the price you are asking! Just send me your address so I can mail the check to have you hold the item for me!" It was obvious that it was a scam, and especially since I wasn't offering shipping but local pick-up only, this was a major red flag!

Why would a scammer mail a (fake) check?

The fake check scammer might not even care if you were to actually send the merchandise to them - or not. Remember from my experience that the person quickly stated they 'don't have an issue with the price.' - because it isn't the merchandise they were interested in, so they had no need to negotiate the asking price! What they're hoping for is that their victim will cash the fake check and send a check back to them. Why would a seller send a check to them? Because the check would be written for more than the actual asking price of the merchandise! A seller would possibly think it was in error and send the overage back to the buyer. Or, the buyer might include instructions that may go like this: "I only had this money order, which is $200.00 more than what you were asking, so kindly return the extra to me." Unfortunately for the seller the fake check won't clear the bank, and they will be out any money they sent the buyer scammer.

When you list items for sale online - be aware of the 'fake check in the mail scam'. Use your common sense, and don't get excited about a buyer wanting to send you a (fake) check in the mail! It's funny money until you take it to the bank, then it's no laughing matter.

Fake currency-1000 dollar bill

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