Beware of counterfeit and fraudulent checks that are often used to trick you out of your hard-earned money. These scams may take the form of fake lottery winnings, overpayment for things being sold online, job opportunity scams, or even an online romance with the true goal of getting to your bank account.
To keep you and your account safe from these types of scams, here are some tips to remember anytime you accept a check:
- How well do you know the owner of the check? After all, a check is a piece of paper; a good faith promise that there is money in the account to honor it. There's no guarantee, so it's important to consider your relationship to the owner of the check.
- Use caution if someone asks you to cash a check through your account on their behalf. Remember that upon deposit you're agreeing to take responsibility for the check, including if it's returned.
- If a check isn't paid, it may take days or even weeks for the check to be returned and debited from your account. If you're unsure whether a check is going to clear, it's best to wait at least 30 days or contact the institution who issued it to confirm that it's cleared before you spend the money.
There are other options - when in doubt, consider other methods of payment.
If you're in a situation that seems a bit off, you can always reach out to us for advice and guidance about whether it sounds legitimate; we're here to help!
Read more about counterfeit check scams in this article on the FTC site.