Certified Check Scams
According to the U.S. Secret Service, which enforces federal laws related to counterfeiting, certified check scams cost consumers $100 million a year.
How they work:
- A buyer shows interest in buying the car and says a cashier's check will be issued for payment.
- At the last minute, the so-called buyer comes up with a reason to write the check for significantly more than the asking price and requests the seller to wire the difference.
- The checks are often such convincing fakes that the seller wires the money immediately after his or her bank clears the check.
- In a week or so, the check turns out to be counterfeit, and the bank requires the car seller to cover the money for the phony check.
The checks are of such good quality that they often fool bank personnel who study them, says Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden. "Victims think the cashier's check or corporate check must be good when the bank gives them the money. But several days later they learn the check is a fake, and they're out both the item they sold and the full face value of the counterfeit check." In Idaho, even a deputy attorney general was duped by such a ploy.
If you're a victim of one of these scams, contact your local authorities immediately.
Questions or concerns? Call (888) 780-1286 or email us.