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What to Know About Fake Check Scams

Published September 20, 2023
As financial scams have evolved, they are becoming more sophisticated and deceptive than ever before. One prevalent scam that targets individuals is the "Fake Check Scam." These scams may sound harmless at first but can have serious financial repercussions. 

Understanding Fake Check Scams

Fake check scams involve fraudsters using counterfeit checks to deceive victims into sending them money. These scams can take various forms, but they all rely on the victim's trust in a seemingly genuine check. 
Here's how fake check scams often unfold: 

Scammers may reach out to victims through various means, such as online classified ads, social media, or email, offering a variety of opportunities, including secret shopper positions, work-from-home jobs, or lottery winnings. 
The unsuspecting individual will receive a check in the mail, via email, or as a downloadable PDF. The check appears legitimate and may even be drawn from a real bank. It's usually made out for a substantial amount, adding a layer of credibility. 

The scammer will then instruct victims to deposit the check into their bank account and once it clears (which can take days or even weeks), send a portion of the funds back to the scammer or a designated third party. Victims are often told to keep a portion of the money as payment. 

Weeks later, the bank discovers that the deposited check is counterfeit, and the individual who made the deposit is held responsible for the entire amount. The funds they sent to the scammer are lost, and they may face overdraft fees or even legal consequences. 

Protecting Yourself from Fake Check Scams

While fake check scams can be convincing, there are steps you can take to protect yourself:
  1. Be Skeptical: Always approach unexpected checks or offers with skepticism. If it seems too good to be true, it likely is.
  2. Verify the Check: If you receive a check, contact the issuing bank directly (using the contact information on their official website) to verify its authenticity before depositing it.
  3. Never Send Money: Legitimate transactions do not require you to send money to receive funds. Be cautious if asked to send a portion of the money back.
  4. Recognize Red Flags: Watch out for signs of a scam, such as poor grammar in communications, overly vague job descriptions, or requests for personal or financial information.
  5. Educate Yourself: Stay informed about common scams and their evolving tactics. Awareness is your best defense against fraud.
Fake check scams can have devastating financial consequences. It's essential to remain vigilant, trust your instincts, and verify the legitimacy of any check or offer you receive. By staying informed and cautious, you can protect yourself and your finances from falling victim to these deceptive schemes. Remember, when in doubt, reach out to us directly to report your suspicions. Your financial well-being is worth safeguarding against potential scams. 

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Who We Are 

As an active part of the community for 93 years, Neighborhood Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial organization serving the state of Texas with branch locations in Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, and Tarrant counties. With assets topping $1 billion, Neighborhood Credit Union has a continuously growing membership of over 60,000. For more information, call (214) 748-9393 or visit our homepage