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Fake checks drive many types of scams – like those involving phony prize wins, fake jobs, mystery shoppers, online classified ad sales, and others. In a fake check scam, a person you don’t know asks you to deposit a check – sometimes for several thousand dollars and usually for more than what you are owed – and wire some of the money back to that person. The scammers always have a good story to explain the overpayment – they’re stuck out of the country, they need you to cover taxes or fees, you need to buy supplies, or something else. But by the time your bank discovers you’ve deposited a bad check, the scammer already has the money you sent, and you’re stuck paying the rest of the check back to the bank.

The Federal Trade Commission receives tens of thousands of reports each year about fake checks. Over the last three years, the number of complaints has steadily increased, and so have the dollars lost.

The FTC’s new infographic, developed with the American Bankers Association Foundation, offers some tip-offs to rip-offs and what to do if you get a check from someone you don’t know.

Please share this information with others. Victims may be embarrassed to talk about their experiences, but you can help. A simple phone call, email or text, saying “Look what I just found” and sharing this information may make a difference in someone else’s life.

Want to avoid the latest rip-offs? Sign up for free consumer alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/subscribe.

211 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
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  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

slhoopaugh
October 11, 2019
I got a dog-sitting "job" from a family moving from California to Florida. They're sending a check for $3,450 for my first weeks pay and for me me to purchase dog food, along with a refrigerator and stovetop.
kingchazz
October 11, 2019
Just call the issuing bank and check if the account exists. I did this based on advice of my bank before depositing and the issuing bank confirmed that the account number did not exist. No need to deposit the money (and get charged a bounced check fee) to learn it's a fake check.
Martin_lee
October 16, 2019
Somebody got into my bank account on a mobile phone and deposited 2 fake checks. What do I do?
FTC Staff
November 15, 2019

In reply to by Martin_lee

If you give people access to your account - even if they say they're going to make a deposit - they can get your money.

Contact your bank and ask how to protect your money. You might need to change your account number, password, PIN or something else.

Juanita
October 19, 2019
I posted an ad on craigslist to rent out my room. This person responded with interest and said she is from Canada and had been transferred to CA for a job. She asked for my full name and address so that her boss can send cashier's check for deposit. Told me I would get check with 4 days. I received a check from USPS and there was a company check included. However, company on check is from FL and on the envelope it came from Clorox in GA. The amount is over $4k and I don't know this company and nothing else was included with the check. I'm very hesitant to deposit this large amt. I emailed back to the person asking her to verify the amount and name of boss. But also told her I did not receive a cashier's check for the deposit. Looking closer, I checked on the DL that she sent me and it looked photoshopped. I'm glad I found this blog. Like others said, if something isn't right down cash it. I just want to report this so that nobody gets scammed. Name on check is Lanzo Construction in FL. Bank is in MI. Return address is from GA.
REJ
October 21, 2019
Is there somewhere to turn the check and letter over to.
Sofsss
October 22, 2019
So I sold a huge room set for 2000.00 dollars . The guy sent me a online they email check and told me it was okay to print out the check and deposit it. Is it true I can just go to the atm and deposit it ?
Seanjohn 194
October 27, 2019
Hello. I got job offer from someone saying that you will get pay weekly 450 dollars every week, you just need to do buy supplies for me. And when I get check it was fake after 6 days waiting for depositing but came back not valid check ending up I need pay my negative parts. I got second time like that but I got smart so I did not deposited it. But problem is how can I find that person did to me. He used to giving call or text now when I wanted my money back he never respond me or found different excuses. What should I do guys ? Please send me some comments what do I need to do . Thanks.
FTC Staff
November 15, 2019

In reply to by Seanjohn 194

Do you have the address for the place where you sent supplies? Does the check have his name or other information on it? Can you talk with police or people at the bank about this and ask how to find this person? You can report the problem to www.FTC.gov/Complaint to help investigators find cases in the future.

Luciojaimes312
November 15, 2019
Hello I was lied to someone came up to me while I was depositing my cash that I worked hard for and he came up to me and told me do you know any banks that are open right now because I’m trying to change it and I keeped saying no until he keeped. And now today I wake up and I overdrawn
Bberrios883
November 02, 2019
met somebody online who asked me to withdraw a 1k check for them b/c they didnt have a acc. the check had my name on it and he deposited it with my info, except it was for 5K instead of 1. i expressed my confusion but he said it was a mistake that the moneys already deposited i need to meet him to give it to him. so i did, not the right choice. I took the money out and gave it to him and he grabbed the money and my card and drove off. He later tried depositing an 8k check with my name, my bank asked if i approved some suspicious activity on my card and i said no. the cards closed. I realized I was scammed and understand i probably will have to pay back 5k , which as a college student will be rough but i can figure it out. I am simply worried about any possible legal action as the check was in my name and i dont know the person except for the nickname he had on Snapchat.
Becca
November 04, 2019
I think I was scammed. I need help! I'm so dumb for not evening noticing it. The thought of have that extra fund to help out the bills was like wow. I got a job offer from a guy named Alvin Shepard from leap force. He claims he is HR. He sent me a check of $2,500 and told me to deposit to my bank. I did and it was on hold for 3 business days. I was able to have $200 available to my account. He told me to purchase steam wallet gift cards and I did. (so dumb of me) after awhile, he became very demanding and unprofessional. I told him I want to stop and how I can return the money. He told me to purchase $2,000 worth of gift cards with my debit card, but I didn't thinking it was already suspicious. I blocked his number and was going to report it to my bank to finally check my account and the deposit was gone and now I have an charge back of $2,731.78. HELP! I'm so dumb and need advice.
CheckChase victim
November 06, 2019
I was selling an irm online and was sent a check, I had no idea it was a scam, Depositted it into my chase acct and next day bank closed my acct. I didn't even get an opportunity to reopen my acct, when I went to the bank to resolve, they just told me I deposited a fake check and that there was nothing they could do to reopen my acct. They diff tell me to try and apply for an account online. Smh
kayla
November 06, 2019
So I was stupid and have someone I don’t know my information and they deposited checks and sent 600 to themselves. I don’t know what to do! Do I have to pay back all the money they deposited or just the 600 they sent to themselves?
FTC Staff
November 15, 2019

In reply to by kayla

If someone has your bank information, they can take more of your money. Ask someone at the bank how to protect your money. You might need to change your account number or passwords or PIN.

You're responsible for what happens in your bank account. If you let someone deposit a bad check and take out $600, you have to repay $600 to the bank.

A.Fischer
November 09, 2019
Hey, Couple days ago, I receive check in my account. But I didn’t know it was check, I thought it’s was just online cash. Then I received call telling me to cash that money and mailed to specific address. But is I didn’t do that, they know where I live and stuff like that. I got scared and didn’t know about scams like this. I cash that money and mailed to him. Next morning I woke up and I would negative amount in my account. I went to bank and went to police headquarter for help. Does anyone knows what will happen to me now? Am I going face jail or get fine and how much or some kinda criminal record?
FTC Staff
November 15, 2019

In reply to by A.Fischer

You are responsible for how you use your bank account. If you cash a bad check and then send money to someone, you can lose money. When the bank finds out the check is no good, you will have a negative balance. You have to repay the bank all the money you took out. You lose money and you could get into legal trouble. Some banks close a person's account and tell them they can't use that bank anymore after the person cashes a bad check.

missysays
November 15, 2019
I was offered a remote assistant position which offered to pay me in advanced with a check to cover supplies I’d need in order to complete my tasks. (A laptop, printer, scanner, fax, etc.) This company is called “Sunshine Pharmaceuticals” or “Sunshine Pharma”. They text and email these fake documents and hire you within a day (saying they’re waiting on a background check). Then send you a check via overnight through FedEx. The check has “Pacific Comp-A CooperPoint Insurance Company” on the left corner and the address of the check is claiming it’s Sherman Oaks so I called their branch and the address on the check DOESN'T exist. I’ve already told this “company” I never got the check and they’ve spent money overnighting me two LOL.
Same here
November 19, 2019

In reply to by missysays

Same happened to me but the bank I called to verify the check said they don't do that, verify anything, so I had fo assume it was bogus, which it of course was, I just want to know how you all are getting this verification info from banks, they sure wouldn't tell me one way or another! Lots of fraud could be avoided if they'd do this!
Clm47
November 17, 2019
What happens when you all of a sudden get money deposited in your account from cash app , you don’t and never signed up with them?
Lynn A
November 20, 2019
Is there any way to recover the money lost from a scam? My daughter was a victim of a fake check scam. The bank denied her claim and cleaned out her checking account and now she is left with nothing and has 3 children.
Delaney
November 20, 2019
I was a victim of this scam. I was selling shoes on Depop, and the buyer sent me a $1400 check when the total price with shipping was $70. After they sent the check they asked me to cashapp them $500. The check voided and the bank withdrew $12 from my account as a safety fee, which I prefer to having my information stolen.
Don't use Drea…
November 24, 2019
Watch out for a scam called..Secret surveyor evaluation a friend got a check in the mail for 1,870 dollars to do a survey. She was to deposit the check into her checking account keep 370 dollars for the survey then get three gift cards two five hundred dollars one for three hundred scratch off the grey off the back of the cards to send the scammer the numbers to get the money but I know how to look for scams and stoped her before she got scammed out of 1,870 dollars.
Spokanemonster…
December 10, 2019
Advertisement in Spokane WA for Monster energy drink. SCAM!
Globax Limousine
December 11, 2019
Has anyone heard of a check scam with Andrew Strain Globax Limousine? It’s suppose to be a work from home opportunity?
KratosGOD5
December 13, 2019
I got a check with no intructions and i cash it at a store and they cashed it and holded it for 2 days and i went back and got the money but was told 8 days later that it bouced is that fraud???With my name and address on it
Peanut863
December 15, 2019
I quit employment on Nov. 25 2019. I received a final paycheck dated Nov. 29th 2019 with my signature stamp on it. I can not cash or deposit my final.paycheck due to possible fraud. What should I do?
Itsamemario
December 27, 2019
Has anyone else ever gotten a text message that was sent from an email address by the name of bernell@bestmoviesinfo.com asking me to "endorse E deposit report of 4170" and to click on a link that said " nutecksales.co " ?? Obviously I didn't click on the link or even reply because I'm not that stupid but everything I Google about that email or that company doesn't show anything just curious if anyone else has ever gotten this before or has any information about this thank you
Dogface
December 23, 2019
Just received a fake check via USPS in the amount of $4,750.00 dated 12/13/19. It was mailed from Seneca Insurance Co, 160 Water St., New York, NY 10038. The check has IBM Retiree Charitable Campaign Fidelity Workplaces Services LLC. The letter stated they wanted me to verify authentication of the package I received for security purpose and instructions about the advertisement job position, text Mr. Gary (646)583-7360 with the information listed below as follows: your name, amount on check, check number, phone number. FYI: Any procedure on this payment without verification from the Accountant is highly prohibited, you must text (646)583-7360. Note: After you have deposited the check into your account text (646)583-7360 for availability of the funds. Thanks...Then say Do Not Ignore This Important Notice! I knew this was an automatic scam, I hope this will benefit someone out there. Pray this company is stopped....
Cat
January 02, 2020
I was recently a victim. I thought it was part of a process for a loan so now my bank thinks im fraudulent! I really want legal action taken against the lady at the bank because she could've helped me wayyy better than she did. What do you do after you've cashed the check and gave Been scammed??
cece_caylee
January 08, 2020
I met this guy on twitter (I’m alreDy sounding like a moron). He offered to help me with bills and such (he’s a sugar daddy). I was desperate for money to help my mom, so I accepted. He sent me a picture of the check and I scanned it onto my banking app. It was pending all night and about $100 was available right away. I didn’t use any of it even though he insisted on me buying something with the money and sending him money from the amount he was giving me. I didn’t spend any of it. Woke up the next day to -$499,907.13 after cashing a fraudulent check of $1900.00. If anyone has ANY advice for me being this stupid, please let me know. I’ll be checking this page quite often. I reported this to the FBI and contacted my bank. They said they would try and dispute it and I would have to bank with someone else. I’m so devastated :(
sammy
January 09, 2020
I got some kind of check in the mail.what do you do with it.
B.banksDon't u…
January 15, 2020
So if you deposit a check not knowing its fake and the funds become available but turns out to be fake can you go to jail your just stuck paying it back because you dodnt know
B.banksDon't u…
January 15, 2020
When does it get to the point where you can go to jail
bbnaz22
February 25, 2020
I’ve received 3 checks in the mail, sent in priority USPS mail. All wanting me to be a “ Mystery Shopper”. All checks are cashier checks and all for 1000$ or more. They want me to buy gift cards and send them pictures of the gift cards including front and back and bar code information. I’ve contacted all 3 banks and filed a co Plaint via this website. Question is how do I make them STOP! I haven’t cashed or deposited the checks, it obviously a scam so how do I get them to stop or better yet how do I set them up to be caught and prosecuted? Any suggestions are welcome.
Tod
March 06, 2020
I must add that Online dating is using this scam in various ways. I’ve seen it twice in two months. I saw through it, but using emotion is a strong way to trick ppl. They wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t working!
Able
April 15, 2020
If I deposited the check I got mailed in my name and already with Drew the funds. I can't get in trouble can I? The bank wants me to return it, but I already spent most of it. I waited and it cleared though. Now they tell me the check was altered or fraudulent. Then why did it clear? If I don't have the money to pay them back yet, what can happen to me?
Anonymous
April 27, 2020
Someone sent me what I now think is a fake cheque, I didn't mean to deposit it into my account i haven't touched the money and I don't plan on it I have all they info they gave me with screen shots to back me up what do I do???? I don't want to be held accountable for something I didn't do.
sasha
May 31, 2020
so am a 20 yr Jamaican girl just move to the states 7 months ago.my cousin who is American she introduce me to one her friends saying he needs help with banking a check so I said yeah I will help them deposit a check of 6000 dollars for them in my BofA account and I did but the check bounce a week after I deposit it but I took 2500 out of it I didn't know it was fake sigh !!! I paid back the money but am still scared what should i do
Anonymous
June 03, 2020
So what if you fell for it and the bank is in the process of verifying the check? My moms bank account won’t close will it?
Gagal2020
August 21, 2020
My friend was Inquiring about a car wrap to advertise for a business. They said they would pay him $500 a week to have this done. They also sent him a cashier's check for $2600 upfront. The email he is responding to is something that looks fake to me....it's like fcughkifylf@ (not exact email address) but this is what it looks like. They told him to cash it and send a screenshot of the deposit receipt so they can release the funds so he can have access to the money faster. At this point they have not asked him to send money back to them but it's very phishy to me..Has anyone seen or heard of a scam like this?;
Jose A.
March 07, 2021

In reply to by Gagal2020

Yes, I have heard of this scam. Do not fall for emails, texts or types of advertisements claiming to give you that much money for you to advertise their products on your car. They are all scams. There is no one giving out so much money for practically doing nothing.
MM
July 07, 2020
I attempted to cash a check at cash at the ace check, not at the bank . The check was written to my company Name attention to mu name. I attempted to cash the check to me. The cashier went inside and They said the check was a fraud- i know the check was real. I did not endorse the check, the teller took and kept the check. Am I trouble attempting to cash the check wasnot belong to me? Will Ace or the bank report my action? I was so stupid
Marie
July 07, 2020
I was scammed a modeling opportunity ended up depositing fake checks and he wanted a portion back apparently he needed it back because it belonged to the company and they needed proof on their end that they paid me so he also needed my bank receipt to show the money they paid me was in my account well they ended up clearing my whole bank account
loli
July 11, 2020
I just realized that I am a victim of fraud but like a dumb dumb I did what they told me I am so scared !!!! Now that I am looking into all this information I am even more scared. What should I do ?
NotSoDull
July 15, 2020
I got a check for $2250. my fee is $400. and I buy gift cards and send them very clear pics of the back of the card and the card number. So they can yank the funds out of my account and then use the cards before I can do anything about it - I don't think so.
codyw516
July 28, 2020
Someone sent me money and wanted me to send it back. The money was on hold and i wasn't able to access it and now my account is locked . I think it was a bad check and I was going to get scammed. Since the money never got into my account and i never sent anything. Will i be okay?
Bubbles
August 01, 2020
A stranger approached me asked me if I wanted to make some money, he has some checks to cash but he needs me to use my id to cash the checks. Them he said I might have to be flown to California or new York to cash some checks. Is this a scam and shall I run far away from him.