Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Check Scams

Tips on protecting yourself from check scams

(NAPSA) No one can ever really afford to lose money. But that's exactly what will happen if you fall for a fake check scam. Here's how it works. Someone sends you a genuine-looking check and asks you to wire a portion of the money somewhere. For instance, it may be to pay taxes on a sweepstakes you supposedly won.

You deposit the check, withdraw the money and wire it as instructed. Then you learn that the check is counterfeit. Now the crook has the money and you owe it back to your bank or credit union. The average loss is $3,000 to $4,000.

If you think you can't be fooled, think again. Fake check scams take many forms. Sometimes people are told that they have been selected for a "grant" from the government or a foundation. Another popular variation of the scam involves
earning money as a "mystery shopper" or an "account manager" for a company.

People selling items online are also targeted. Susan Grant, director of Consumer Protection at the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), cautioned that people who are experiencing financial problems are especially vulnerable to
promises of "sudden riches" or easy ways to make money.

According to a survey conducted for CFA, a majority of adults in the U.S. incorrectly believe that when they deposit a check, their bank or credit union confirms that it's good before allowing them to withdraw the money. "They can't tell
that these checks are phony," said Ms. Grant. "They trust their customers to know the sources of the checks they deposit. If the checks bounce, the customers will be held responsible." Consumers are also liable if they cash fake checks at check cashing services or stores.

You can learn more at www.fakechecks.org . There, you can take a quiz, get answers to frequently asked questions, watch videos and send an e-card to warn others about these scams.

Remember, there is no legitimate reason why anyone who wants to give you money would ever ask you to send money anywhere in return.

Note from Lucy:
There are a lot of people out of work right now and things like this scam look good to them... Please take heed and don't fall for it... About nine years ago, my sister fell for something close to this. She got a letter in the mail that said that she won some money and she needed to send them a certain amount of money to cover taxes on the win...She showed me the letter, I said "Don't Do It"... Her husband had died the year before and she needed some money, without my knowledge, she did it anyway.....She sent her last $ 1,500.00 and it was gone in a flash... It took her three months before she could tell me what she had done.... I think she learned her lesson, or at least, I hope she did.....

Have a safe and happy fourth of July, everyone! Pray for our country.....


At 6:32 AM, Blogger Granny Annie said...

Lucy, you are passing on very important information. Banks used to routinely place ten business day holds on "uncollected funds" checks. The consumers rioted and insisted the banking regulations be changed. Banks lifted the hold process which put the guarantee of payment solely on the endorser, their customer. When you deposit a check into your bank account and endorse it you are guaranteeing that you know the check is good or that you will pay any loss if it is not.

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Big Dave T said...

Very timely reminder as I've received several of these "you're a winner" e-mails in recent days.

At 1:35 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Yeah, like Dave, I've gotten a few recently, too. Thankfully, Gmail has a great spam filter so I very rarely see one of them in my inbox.

Have a good 4th, too, Lucy. We'll be in Maui...it should be fun to watch the fireworks there.

At 5:16 PM, Anonymous Jahn said...

If it looks too good to be true....

At 1:11 AM, Blogger Jim said...

I posted one of those on my blog one time, leaving my name off.
The fellow endorsing it e-mailed or left a comment saying he had never endorsed it and would I please take his name off.
He was legit, the scam was similar to yours.

We have never made it to the Woodlands for the Houston Symphony 4th. Our fireworks up here are on the 3rd and we are having a parade the 4th. I might enter a car in the parade.

A friend wants to know if you will be doing an Extra License class there any time in sight?

At 11:59 AM, Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

It is amazing that someone sits around thginking up these schemes, knowing there will be people who will fall for it---especially in these desperate times.
When you think about it...The Madoff Scheme was not unlike this, only on a much grander scale....And it was based on the Brokerage Business....HELP!

At 8:21 PM, Blogger Mountain Mama said...

Thats too bad about your sister. What a hard lesson.
I have gotten that sort of thing in e-mails. I have never fallen into those traps and pray I never do. It's too bad the scammers can't be more severly punished. Maybe there would be less of it for us to deal with.

At 11:18 PM, Blogger LZ Blogger said...

Lucy ~ I can say I have almost done away with using checks at all any more. ~ jb///

At 10:02 PM, Blogger NoSurfGirl said...

I never ever trust anything I see that seems like a "free ride." So maybe once or twice in my life i'll miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime (likely not) but I'll also have missed out on many, many chances to get scammed and exploited.


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