Check scams: what should you do with an unsolicited check?

Money trap with hundred dollars, eps10 vector format

Have you recently received an unsolicited cPort cashier’s check? As tempting as it may be to assume that there’s been a Monopoly-style “bank error in your favor,” fraudulent cPort cashier’s checks have been used in recent check scams.

When you receive an unsolicited check from someone you don’t personally know, you are most likely the target of a check fraud scam. Fraudsters have developed several varieties of check scams, most of which include a request to deposit a check and then wire or transfer some amount of that check back to the sender or to another recipient. The FTC offers a great resource here about fake checks. The fraudsters take advantage of their victims by receiving the wired or transferred funds before the financial institution where the victim deposits the check determines that the check is a fake. Once the check is identified as fraudulent, the victim of the scheme is responsible to pay the financial institution back for the amount of the bad check.

Fraudulent checks can look very realistic, and the scams are sophisticated. Often, fraudsters choose victims through Craigslist or “Work From Home” websites. Check out this article by Chris Martin, which talks about his experience receiving an unsolicited cPort check as part of a mystery shopper scam.

If you receive an unsolicited check from an unfamiliar sender, do not cash it. Instead, we suggest that you report the incident to postal inspectors at 877-876-2455 or file a report online here. You can also call the financial institution that the check was issued from to verify it. If you ever have any questions or concerns about a check you’ve received, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-464-0253 or email us at [email protected].

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