Member Advisory: If You Get A Check In The Mail That's Too Good To Be True – It Probably Is

posted September 14, 2016 in Blog

Scammers who send what appear to be a real cashier’s checks often send messages indicating you’ve won a lottery in a foreign country, have an inheritance you didn’t know about or are trying to ‘buy’ something you’re selling on Craigslist or EBay. These checks look real but aren’t and are hard to spot. They also usually come with requests for personal and account information but you need to verify what you’ve received before you give out any information. If you receive any suspicious check, please bring it to us at GICU to help you confirm whether it’s real or not.

Some Helpful Tips On How To Spot A Fake Check

  • Check The Origin – if you can’t find information online about the issuing bank or the check is from overseas, it’s probably a fake.
  • Amount Of The Check – If you’re selling something online, the check will usually come to you for more than the requested amount; a way to coax you through the sale or wire back funds for the ‘overage.’
  • Security Features – security threads, wire marks and other security items embedded into real checks are often missing or not fully articulated on fake checks.
  • Payee Name – if it’s not there or written in, it’s a fake; cashier’s checks are always issued with the payee name.
  • Bank Phone Number – often missing or even faked on the fraudulent check; it may even be a ‘dummy number’ that someone does answer to on the other end of the line but they are ‘in’ on the ‘con.’
  • Suspicious Communication – scammers often use poor grammar and misspell their communications to you; if it doesn’t read like it came from a bank, it probably didn’t.
  • Fraud Alerts – The Office of the Comptroller of Currency announces reported fraud cases on its website (occ.gov); it’s good to check but keep in mind the list you find there deals only with reported cases and this may be a new one.

The Bottom Line

If you find yourself in a position where you think the check may be a fake and you are pressed or in the presence of the person holding the check, ask them to accompany you to GICU for verification purposes as you cash it. But ALWAYS ‘check if you doubt the check’ – and know we’re here to help.