With the pandemic of COVID-19, people are in more financial stress than they’re used to. With some people losing jobs and others waiting around for unemployment, they make the perfect desperate victims for money check scams. Let’s start by taking a look at some of the most common check scams out there so you can successfully identify when you encounter one.
Common Fake Check Scams
The first of the most well-known scams come in the form of mystery shopping. With so many people looking for other areas of work, this isn’t hard to fall into. The poster of the assignment tells you that you’re going to be evaluating a retailer. This retailer will undoubtedly be one that sells gift cards, has a money transfer service, or money order service like Western Union.
As a mystery shopper, you’ll be sent a check to deposit into your personal bank account. You’ll then be informed to use the money service to wire the money to another account that the assignment maker creates. Once you deposit and wire the money, they will have access to your bank account. This means they can drain it in seconds.
Scammers will set up job listings for personal assistants. Once a person gets hired as a personal assistant, one of their tasks will be to purchase items for the scammer. The scammer will provide the personal assistant with a check to purchase these items. In most cases, they’re for the purchase of gift cards. Once in hand, the scammers will take the money off of the gift cards. Once the check bounces that the personal assistant used to purchase the gift cards, they’re stuck with footing the bill themselves.
Sweepstakes or lottery winning scams are becoming more and more popular in this pandemic time. They work by sending you information or contacting you by phone to explain that you’ve won money. However, before they can deposit the funds into your account, you’ll need to submit payment to cover the taxes for the government. These scams have unsuspecting people sending money to a specific bank account and they never receive their winnings after they send the money.
Work At Home Check Processing Jobs
Scammers will post job listings for those looking to work from home. These are listed as check processing jobs. They set up the job as schemes where they send you cashier’s checks and you’re supposed to deposit the payment. Then, you forward the money to another account. Your bank will process the check usually within a day or two. Once you wire the money, you will find out a few days later that the check comes back bad from the bank. This leaves you paying the fee for the bad check that you deposited.
How To Avoid These Scams
Well, you’ve already taken the first step in avoiding these scams. That is to simply be aware of what they are. This will help you to spot them ahead of time so that you don’t fall victim to them. Let’s take a look at some other helpful tips for avoiding money check scams.
Know Who Is Sending You Checks
It’s never a good idea to cash a check from an unknown person. If they want to give you money, have them give you cash. This way, you don’t have to worry about dealing with potentially fraudulent checks. If you’re unable to avoid getting a check from someone, then do your due diligence. Each check will have the address of the individual and the information for the financial institution. Take a moment and verify the issuer’s address and financial institution online. Even give the bank a call to verify that they’re a legitimate place.
Make Sure The Check Has Cleared
Before you ever spend the money from a check, you should ensure that it clears. Most banks will front you the money for checks that you deposit within one to two days. However, they’re clearing process can take longer. You may find out three to five days later that the check didn’t clear. So, wait until you’re alerted that the check has cleared before you spend the money from it.