Over the past several months, we have sent out a couple of alerts to remind our friends, family, clients, Realtors, investors and colleagues of the Fake Check Scam.
How the Scam Works:
The perpetrator of the scam sends you a large cashier’s check supposedly for the purchase of real property, escrow money, etc. You deposit the check. A few days later, the perpetrator contacts you to request that you send all or some of the money back because either they have changed their mind or need the money back for an emergency. You wire the funds as requested. Several days or weeks later, you find out that the check was fake and now your bank account is short by the amount you wired to the scammer.
The scammers don’t always use cashier’s checks. The scam has involved fake law firm trust account checks, fake corporate checks, and others. Many times, the fake check is mailed from Canada, and the “client” asks you to return the funds via wire to somewhere in Asia.
How to Avoid Being Scammed:
If you receive a large cashier’s check, verify with your bank and the issuing bank that the check is real before depositing it into your trust account. Contact the issuing bank by email or phone, but do not use contact information from the check. Better yet, refuse to accept large checks and insist that funds be wired to your account. Do not disburse any funds until you are positive that the check is real and that you have collected funds in your account.
How to Report the Scam:
If you would like to report the attempted scam to the authorities you are encouraged to make a report to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov. Even if you did not fall for the scam, and have not suffered a loss, the FBI is interested in your facts. They may not be able to investigate every case, but they will compile the information and look for trends and common perpetrators.
Source: The Fund- Attorneys Title; helping protect their agents.