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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 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.

Plain Jane
August 03, 2020
I received a secret shopper package in the mail on Friday. It was a postal money order, I took it to the post office then I went to the postal website. it had me put the serial number, it came back as fake. This morning I get a text message asking if I ha put the money in my bank. I don't know what to do but we need to stop them. I am a senior citizen I don't have the money to loose.
kbosacki
August 14, 2020
I have received a job offer from a company called the accedo group and they emailed me a check to deposit into my account via phone app to purchase the supplies they want me to have but I'm a little skeptical about it. Has anyone heard of this group and should I not do it?
countryboy28
September 29, 2020
I received a check in the mail an I called the business that was on the check an the person said it was there check an their name an address an she said it was a fake check because nobody could read the signed name on it an now this guy is saying that he’s gonna call the police on me an yet I haven’t cashed it or deposited it what should I do
Elektra
December 23, 2020
I deposited I check and now I think it might have been fake. Am I okay if I never touch the money? Will I get in trouble? What should I do?
Jose A.
March 07, 2021
My brother-in-law just received an unsolicited text from an "ad campaign marketing company" for an energy drink. They were offering him over $2000 a month to wrap his car in their advertisement. Luckily, we realized that this was a scam because when we did a reverse search of the phone number, the location did not match that of any business location, it was an empty lot. They also instructed him to deposit the check in an ATM, not to do it with the teller in his bank. The moral of the story is: do not believe anyone offering to give you money to wrap your car with advertisements, 99% of the time it will be a scam.
Carries
March 17, 2021
I got a random text about a job opportunity i replied once and now they're sending me a almost 4000 check because they're moving to my "town" never specific what town to clean the apartment they're moving into the check will be here tomorrow I know they're running a scam im not falling for it but wasting their time is gonna be fun
miaking26
March 18, 2021
I accidentally cashed a fake check and now I am unable to get another debit card from any bank. How long until I will be allowed to get one again?
Noel
April 04, 2021
First it was car wrap scam think i received 5 of them totaling $15,000 but luckly. I don't trust anything having to do with the internet.
Steve9
April 06, 2021
Has anyone received a check from Dave.com. I recently received one for 4630. I have not way of contacting the company but the bank said it was a good check. I am holding it because i dont have a relationship with the company.
shally1
May 04, 2021
So , I was employed with an employer and they said I am a retail coordinator and I have to process the check. They will send me the check and I will cash it and send the money to them? They said the funds will be available as soon as it is available I should send it. They say that it is to be routed too Europe and they cant do that. Does it sound fake?
ampola
June 10, 2021
I recieved a check and instead of adding money it took it off and now I have -410 dollars on my account. How do I get it back?