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.....