Don’t take “candy” from anyone you don’t know. That means checks, too. That “candy” could turn out to be expensive.
Fraudulent checks are frequently used in scams these days. A common one is when a company sends a check saying you have won the lottery. They ask you to cash the check and send money to them to handle the processing fee.
What are the red flags here? One. They ask you to wire money back to them. Two. You can’t win a lottery that you didn’t enter. Three. The letter came from outside the United States.
With these red flags flapping, tear up the check and let your BBB and state Attorney General’s office know about the mailing.
If you cash the check you may be held responsible for the entire amount of the fraudulent check that you cash or put into your account, plus you may incur a bank fee. Many people spend the “money” and days or weeks later they find out they have to pay the bank back. They also lost the money they sent to the company for so called handling fees.
Fraudulent checks can come from various sources. If there are no strong red flags, how can you detect fraudulent checks?
Here are some tips from the District Attorney in Clark County, Nevada.
- Check the finish on the magnetic computer numbers on the bottom. The magnetic ink should be very dull and never shiny.
- Look for at least one perforated edge on the check. All checks, except some government or computer-produced checks should have a perforated edge.
- Check for any words or numerals that appear to be altered. Look for different hand writing, different color ink, or any other suspicious differences. If you find discrepancies which are of concern, you should decline the check.
- Look for changes or additions to the name of the payee. If the color, density or writing of the name appears different, there may have been an alteration.