Fake Check Scams

Should you wire money to a stranger? U.S. Postal Inspectors hope you say: Absolutely not! The offer may sound like a nice deal, but — as usual — it’s just too good to be true. The check or money order you receive will be counterfeit. And you’ll be out the money.

Fake check scams appear in various disguises:

In any case, the check or money order you receive for deposit will be a counterfeit. It will be returned to your bank unpaid, and the full amount will be deducted from your account.

You are responsible for any check or money order you deposit to your account. If the check or money order turns out to be a counterfeit, or is returned unpaid for any reason, you are fully responsible for the loss.

Federal law requires banks to make deposited funds available within 1 to 5 business days. Just because you can withdraw cash from your account soon after depositing a check or money order doesn’t mean the item you deposited is valid. It can be weeks before a check or money order is discovered to be a counterfeit and returned to your bank unpaid. Bank employees may not be able to determine whether an item is invalid. Their job is to process your financial document.