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May 29th, 2009
02:53 PM ET

Protect yourself: Make sure check scams don’t scam you!

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Publishing

A few months ago, I posted a blog on this site about how to protect yourself from counterfeit check scams. I track this kind of thing. I get security alerts from the FDIC about these check scams. The reason I posted that article was because I got seven alerts in one day, an all-time record.

Today, that record was broken. I got alerts about 11 counterfeit check scams, all over the country. And, last week, I received another six. Check out the full list at the end of this article.

Make sure you check out a detailed a series of tips you should take to protect yourself.

Here are five that are most important:

* If you’re selling something, don't ever accept a check for more than the selling price, no matter how tempting the offer or how convincing the story.

* As a seller, you can suggest an alternative way for the buyer to pay, like an escrow service or online payment service.

* If you accept payment by check, ask for a check drawn on a local bank, or a bank with a local branch. That way, you can make a personal visit to make sure the check is valid.

* If the buyer insists that you wire back funds, end the transaction immediately.

* Resist any pressure to "act now."

As more and more people struggle financially and more and more banks experience problems (problems that make verification difficult), counterfeiting is going up. Be paranoid and be safe.

Today's Alerts for Counterfeit Check Scams

* Counterfeit cashier's checks bearing the name 1stBank of Northern Colorado, Fort Collins, Colorado
* Counterfeit cashier's checks bearing the name 1stBank of Colorado, Lakewood, Colorado
* Counterfeit cashier's checks bearing the name Prime Alliance Bank, Woods Cross, Utah
* Counterfeit expense checks bearing the name Kleberg First National Bank of Kingsville, Kingsville, Texas
* Counterfeit cashier's checks bearing the name The Bath State Bank, Bath, Indiana
* Counterfeit official checks bearing the name Renasant Bank, Tupelo, Mississippi
* Counterfeit cashier's checks bearing the name Hoosac Bank, North Adams, Massachusetts
* Counterfeit cashier's checks bearing the name Clear Lake Bank & Trust Company, Clear Lake, Iowa
* Counterfeit official bank checks bearing the name Kentucky Bank, Paris, Kentucky
* Counterfeit cashier's checks bearing the name Esquire Bank, Garden City, New York
* Counterfeit cashier's checks bearing the name The Nashua Bank, Nashua, New Hampshire
* Counterfeit cashier's checks bearing the name River Cities Bank, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

And six last week:

* Counterfeit cashier's checks bearing the name The Garrett State Bank, Garrett, Indiana
* Counterfeit cashier's checks bearing the name East Cambridge Savings Bank, Cambridge, Massachusetts
* Counterfeit cashier's checks bearing the name EastBank, Minneapolis, Minnesota,
* Counterfeit cashier's checks bearing the name Umpqua Bank, Rockport, Maine
* Counterfeit cashier's checks bearing the name BankFirst Financial Services, Winter Park, Florida
* Counterfeit official checks bearing the name OptimumBank, Plantation, Florida

Follow David on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/DavidGewirtz.

Editor’s note: David Gewirtz is Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Magazines, including OutlookPower Magazine. He is a leading Presidential scholar specializing in White House email. He is a member of FBI InfraGard, the Cyberterrorism Advisor for the International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals, a columnist for The Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, and has been a guest commentator for the Nieman Watchdog of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. He is a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley extension, a recipient of the Sigma Xi Research Award in Engineering and was a candidate for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Letters.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • David Gewirtz • Finance
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Lisa in CA

    If one has any questions about the "cashier's check" they receive, take it to the bank it was drafted on (i.e., BofA, see the list provided). They will tell you if it is valid or not. We all wish they were real, but alas, yes, there are many people who have absolutely no conscious and will take advantage of anyone, regardless of age, income, etc. Remember, there is no such thing as "easy money".

    (And, yes, I keep the BofA "cashier's check" issued to me for a Mystery Shopper assignment as a souvenier. No, I did not "redeem".)

    May 29, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  2. Joseph Perez

    My mother in law got suckered last week with a $1300 check.

    May 29, 2009 at 4:13 pm |