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  #1  
Old 03-21-2012, 05:19 PM
Christopher Robin Davies Christopher Robin Davies is offline
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Just got obvious scam check in the mail. Should I do anything with it other than shred it?

Hello, here is what is happening. Yesterday I got a check in the mail from a company based in New Hampshire which I had never heard of before. The check was for about $2600. The attached letter said it was for a mystery shopping job and had instructions on how to handle it. Specifically it said to deposit the check and then go to a Western Union and do a cash advance for about $1700 to Address X, and also to take $100 and go shopping at Best Buy or Target and in both cases to contact a person named in the letter and give him my report on the customer service at Western Union and the store I chose and supposedly the balance is mine to keep. This pinged my bullshit meter for obvious reasons. I put the check aside intending to shred it but then I got distracted and so it is still on my table. Anyway I am wondering if there's anything else I should do with this check that is is there a government agency I should report it to.

Please don't bother telling me that it's a scam; that is obvious. If I were to deposit the check what would surely happen is that the money would never reach my account and I'd get a huge chargeback.

Any thoughts on whether it's worth reporting this to the FBI or whatever? Thank you.

Last edited by Christopher Robin Davies; 03-21-2012 at 05:19 PM..
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  #2  
Old 03-21-2012, 05:42 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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I'd report it to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
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  #3  
Old 03-21-2012, 05:43 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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^^^ That. Take the cheque in and let them handle it.
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  #4  
Old 03-21-2012, 06:28 PM
janeslogin janeslogin is offline
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My spouse got a $50,000 check in the mail. No explanation. She asked the manager at a local bank and was told that this happened about twice a month. They had a person looking into it. The bank took the check and we never hear anymore about it.
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  #5  
Old 03-21-2012, 06:53 PM
The Man With The Golden Gun The Man With The Golden Gun is offline
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I'd save it.

Next time you get a Nigerian scam email, look in it for the address he wants you to send your money to. Then mail him the check you got yesterday.

Probably illegal, but it's one of those crimes no one reports.

Last edited by The Man With The Golden Gun; 03-21-2012 at 06:54 PM..
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  #6  
Old 03-21-2012, 07:44 PM
Arnold Winkelried Arnold Winkelried is offline
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What bank was the check written on? If it's not a bank where you have an account, you could go to that bank to cash it and see what happens.
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  #7  
Old 03-21-2012, 08:14 PM
Alley Dweller Alley Dweller is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arnold Winkelried View Post
What bank was the check written on? If it's not a bank where you have an account, you could go to that bank to cash it and see what happens.
And if you try that, you could end up keeping Ann Marie Eichel company! And while you're there, say hello to Kelly McGhee. And the list goes on and on....

Don't get involved in illegal activity even if you are the victim of an illegal act.

Last edited by Alley Dweller; 03-21-2012 at 08:18 PM..
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  #8  
Old 03-21-2012, 08:33 PM
Arnold Winkelried Arnold Winkelried is offline
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Originally Posted by Alley Dweller View Post
And if you try that, you could end up keeping Ann Marie Eichel company! And while you're there, say hello to Kelly McGhee. And the list goes on and on....

Don't get involved in illegal activity even if you are the victim of an illegal act.
Whoa! Forget my advice! I didn't think that you would be arrested if you were honestly trying to cash a check. I wonder how it would work if you told the bank teller up front "Can you tell me if this is a real check? I'm afraid it might be bogus."
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:36 PM
appleciders appleciders is offline
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Cash it. The day before your bank calculates interest.
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  #10  
Old 03-21-2012, 08:56 PM
crookedteeth crookedteeth is offline
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Similar thing happened to me, but with a fake money order from what I thought was a job offer. I turned it into USPS because that's how it was shipped and where the counterfeit money orders supposedly came from.
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  #11  
Old 03-21-2012, 09:25 PM
Typo Negative Typo Negative is online now
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Originally Posted by Arnold Winkelried View Post
I wonder how it would work if you told the bank teller up front "Can you tell me if this is a real check? I'm afraid it might be bogus."
You can call the issuing bank and they will tell you if it's real or not.

We got one of those when we were trying to sell a pool table. The ex didn't want to believe it was a scam. I called the issuing bank. Lady on the phone had me read the routing number to her. I got 3 numbers in and she stopped me and said 'It's a fake'.
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:54 PM
Renee Renee is offline
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Originally Posted by Alley Dweller View Post
And if you try that, you could end up keeping Ann Marie Eichel company! And while you're there, say hello to Kelly McGhee. And the list goes on and on....

Don't get involved in illegal activity even if you are the victim of an illegal act.
I don't get what these people did that was illegal. I only read the first one, but what is illegal about attempting to cash a check that you got in the mail? Presumably the bank could tell it was a fake; why was the response to cuff her instead of telling her, "sorry, fake check"?
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  #13  
Old 03-22-2012, 12:38 AM
Rick Rick is offline
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Originally Posted by Arnold Winkelried View Post
What bank was the check written on? If it's not a bank where you have an account, you could go to that bank to cash it and see what happens.
.
The left bank of the Mississippi


(of the river that is)
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  #14  
Old 03-22-2012, 01:33 AM
FlyByNight512 FlyByNight512 is offline
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Originally Posted by spooje View Post
You can call the issuing bank and they will tell you if it's real or not.

We got one of those when we were trying to sell a pool table. The ex didn't want to believe it was a scam. I called the issuing bank. Lady on the phone had me read the routing number to her. I got 3 numbers in and she stopped me and said 'It's a fake'.
Not always. A guy I used to work for got a check that he was 95% sure was fake, but the bank said it was fine and handed over the money without complaint. It was six months before the bank figured it out and came back asking for the money - fortunately he still had it, as he thought something of that nature might happen and had been content to sit on it for a year or two to make sure.
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  #15  
Old 03-22-2012, 01:33 AM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Originally Posted by Renee View Post
I don't get what these people did that was illegal. I only read the first one, but what is illegal about attempting to cash a check that you got in the mail? Presumably the bank could tell it was a fake; why was the response to cuff her instead of telling her, "sorry, fake check"?
It's a fraud, and he would be getting involved with a fraud.
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  #16  
Old 03-22-2012, 10:52 AM
Christopher Robin Davies Christopher Robin Davies is offline
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Originally Posted by Arnold Winkelried View Post
What bank was the check written on? If it's not a bank where you have an account, you could go to that bank to cash it and see what happens.
I can't see that ending well. Plus the check is now in several hundred cross-cut pieces.
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  #17  
Old 03-22-2012, 10:55 AM
Christopher Robin Davies Christopher Robin Davies is offline
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Originally Posted by Renee View Post
I don't get what these people did that was illegal. I only read the first one, but what is illegal about attempting to cash a check that you got in the mail? Presumably the bank could tell it was a fake; why was the response to cuff her instead of telling her, "sorry, fake check"?
You don't need a teller for that. You can just google "routing number" + the, um, routing number which is what I did. I'm not sure what I would have done if it had been a valid number as the next obvious step would have been to try to verify the account number but I doubt the bank is going to answer that question unless you can prove up front it is your number and asking the question would make you seem like the one trying to pull something.
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  #18  
Old 03-22-2012, 10:56 AM
Christopher Robin Davies Christopher Robin Davies is offline
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Originally Posted by FlyByNight512 View Post
Not always. A guy I used to work for got a check that he was 95% sure was fake, but the bank said it was fine and handed over the money without complaint. It was six months before the bank figured it out and came back asking for the money - fortunately he still had it, as he thought something of that nature might happen and had been content to sit on it for a year or two to make sure.
Not only that but there would have been chargeback fees too. The $2600 dollar check would have cost me $2650 or so.
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  #19  
Old 03-22-2012, 10:58 AM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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Originally Posted by FlyByNight512 View Post
Not always. A guy I used to work for got a check that he was 95% sure was fake, but the bank said it was fine and handed over the money without complaint. It was six months before the bank figured it out and came back asking for the money - fortunately he still had it, as he thought something of that nature might happen and had been content to sit on it for a year or two to make sure.
Shit, is that really legal? I mean, it's the bank's error.
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  #20  
Old 03-22-2012, 12:18 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
Shit, is that really legal? I mean, it's the bank's error.
I don't know how it is in the US, but here, a bank won't cash a cheque unless you have an account with them*. If there's any problem with the cheque, it all comes out of YOUR account. Banks invented "cover your ass."

*I think.

Last edited by Cat Whisperer; 03-22-2012 at 12:19 PM..
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  #21  
Old 03-22-2012, 12:26 PM
Arnold Winkelried Arnold Winkelried is offline
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Originally Posted by FlyByNight512 View Post
Not always. A guy I used to work for got a check that he was 95% sure was fake, but the bank said it was fine and handed over the money without complaint. It was six months before the bank figured it out and came back asking for the money - fortunately he still had it, as he thought something of that nature might happen and had been content to sit on it for a year or two to make sure.
Was it the issuing bank that said it was OK and gave him the money, or did your acquaintance deposit it at his own bank who put the money into his account and then set the check on to the issuing bank?

P.S. This story from 1995 made me laugh: Bank Error In My Favor by Patrick Combs. The story continues over several pages.
Short version: guy gets an oversize novelty check in the mail, puts it in the ATM as a joke for deposit. $95,000 shows up in his account, so he takes out the $95,000 from his bank account and puts it in a safe deposit box, to see what will happen later. Hijinks ensue. (i.e. the bank later tells him: "why did you deposit it? This is obviously a fake novelty check". He answers "if it is obviously a fake novelty check, why would a bank teller put the money in my account?")

Last edited by Arnold Winkelried; 03-22-2012 at 12:27 PM..
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  #22  
Old 03-22-2012, 12:42 PM
Christopher Robin Davies Christopher Robin Davies is offline
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Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
I don't know how it is in the US, but here, a bank won't cash a cheque unless you have an account with them*. If there's any problem with the cheque, it all comes out of YOUR account. Banks invented "cover your ass."

*I think.
That is not completely true. My daughter has cashed checks I've written for her at my bank. Of course we live in the same city and she had a local id and and I had plenty of money in the account. But had to go to a teller to do it. She could not have taken the check to another bank and cashed it unless she had an account there and in that case what they would really have been doing is depositing the check and putting a temporary hold on the funds until it cleared and in the meantime debiting the funds from her own account. That only works if the person has enough money in their own account to cover the check in the first place. That is why I would not dare take the check to my own bank to cash or deposit. All that would have happened is that they would have debited my account the cash and when the check ultimately bounced I would have been out the amount of the check plus a fee for depositing a bounced check.

One circumstance in which you can cash a check when you don't have an account at a bank is when it's a big employer. FedEx is the biggest employer in Memphis for instance and they have deals where their employees can go to the bank that handles their local accounts and cash their paychecks so long as they have proper i.d. which means both the driver's license and their FedEx i.d.
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  #23  
Old 03-22-2012, 12:51 PM
FlyByNight512 FlyByNight512 is offline
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Originally Posted by Arnold Winkelried View Post
Was it the issuing bank that said it was OK and gave him the money, or did your acquaintance deposit it at his own bank who put the money into his account and then set the check on to the issuing bank?
The acquaintance deposited it at his own bank in his business account, and the bank then sent the check on to the issuing bank. The scam involved sending server equipment to Nigeria, it was a mid five figures check. We were all pretty astonished that it took the bank six months to figure it out. My acquaintance had discovered it was a scam a month after cashing the check (well, confirmed that it was a scam, he'd had suspicions all along, which were partly allayed by the bank ACCEPTING THE CHECK), which was why he made sure he had the money on hand. He did move it to a different bank, though, so the first bank had to ask for it back instead of just taking it out of the account.
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  #24  
Old 03-22-2012, 01:00 PM
Qwakkeddup Qwakkeddup is offline
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Here in the USA, an issuing bank must honor the check. Cash, deposit, or whatever. That is one reason why I think it is ridiculous to not have in place some way to know a check is fake. Even if you aren't the issuing bank, with all the electronic communication these days the banks should all be able to warn each other about these scams so they can be stopped before some innocent or even not so innocent account holder winds up holding the bag.

Since the account holder is held responsible though, banks are more than willing to save the money and/or effort to put anything in place.

Just think with good communication and stopping the majority of these scams, how the scam itself could die out. Be a win for everyone but the scammer.
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  #25  
Old 03-22-2012, 01:02 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Originally Posted by Christopher Robin Davies View Post
That is not completely true. My daughter has cashed checks I've written for her at my bank. Of course we live in the same city and she had a local id and and I had plenty of money in the account. But had to go to a teller to do it. She could not have taken the check to another bank and cashed it unless she had an account there and in that case what they would really have been doing is depositing the check and putting a temporary hold on the funds until it cleared and in the meantime debiting the funds from her own account. That only works if the person has enough money in their own account to cover the check in the first place. That is why I would not dare take the check to my own bank to cash or deposit. All that would have happened is that they would have debited my account the cash and when the check ultimately bounced I would have been out the amount of the check plus a fee for depositing a bounced check.

One circumstance in which you can cash a check when you don't have an account at a bank is when it's a big employer. FedEx is the biggest employer in Memphis for instance and they have deals where their employees can go to the bank that handles their local accounts and cash their paychecks so long as they have proper i.d. which means both the driver's license and their FedEx i.d.
That all sounds right - someone at the bank it is drawn on has to have the money in their account to cover the cheque. They'll take it out of my account, or they'll take it out of your account, but they're not taking a chance on a third-party cheque.
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  #26  
Old 03-22-2012, 02:33 PM
That Don Guy That Don Guy is offline
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I know a number of people who actually keep collections of checks like this, and pretty much use them as wallpaper. (Usually, the victim is trying to sell something, and a "certified check" comes in the mail for something like $1000 more than the asking price, with a request to mail back the difference.)
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  #27  
Old 04-04-2012, 01:33 PM
Miac Miac is offline
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Check

????????????? I receiced ck in mail from Company after posting for a job.. I recieved a check for 3950.00 .. Never thinking ( duh) I deposited that check ..then a cpl of hours after I deposited it I received a email stating that I should tranfer monies via western union to Joe whoever ... I became suspicious and called the bank right away .. gave transaction number and she spoke with fraud dept ..she said they would verify check .. When checking my account last night online it stated that check was on hold for verification .. TODAY money is in my account ???
Does this make sense to anyone ?
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  #28  
Old 04-04-2012, 01:42 PM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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Originally Posted by Miac View Post
????????????? I receiced ck in mail from Company after posting for a job.. I recieved a check for 3950.00 .. Never thinking ( duh) I deposited that check ..then a cpl of hours after I deposited it I received a email stating that I should tranfer monies via western union to Joe whoever ... I became suspicious and called the bank right away .. gave transaction number and she spoke with fraud dept ..she said they would verify check .. When checking my account last night online it stated that check was on hold for verification .. TODAY money is in my account ???
Does this make sense to anyone ?
The check isn't really "cleared" yet - the bank may take weeks to actually verify if the source of the money is legit/the account was compromised/whatever. Once they do figure out there's something wrong, they will take the money back from your account, and if that overdraws your account, that isn't their problem. Don't spend a bit of it, and don't transfer/wire money to anyone.
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  #29  
Old 04-04-2012, 01:54 PM
Miac Miac is offline
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Thank you ...
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  #30  
Old 04-05-2012, 09:32 AM
spunkymuzicnote spunkymuzicnote is offline
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When this happened to me I contacted both the company it was send from and the bank the check was drawn under. Actually it turned out the bank was closed, but the company was already working with the FBI trying to deal with some similar situations. They asked that I scan and email them a copy of the check to be used as further evidence. I also sent them the emails I had been receiving from the same person (I had applied for a job on Craigslist which, after a few emails, I learned was being offered by someone who "lived overseas" and who didn't want to have a phone call with me, but still supposedly wanted me to take care of their elderly father). If there is already an investigation going on somewhere it might help to add your info to the already growing pile of evidence.
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