Don’t Fall for Check Deposit Scams: Abilene Man is Out $200,000
Learn from what happened to this poor Abilenian. There's a newer scam that's going around that could clean out your bank account if you fall for it. It's called a "Fake Check Scam" and it has some similarities to older scams. The classic "Nigerian Prince" scam basically preyed on people's greed and their desire to get rich quick. Essentially a "Nigerian Prince" (or son of a former treasurer, exiled bureaucrat, etc.) had a bunch of money they wanted to get out of their country and into the United States. They just needed a trustworthy American whose bank account they could transfer the money, often millions, into. Somehow, for some unfathomable reason, they randomly chose you. And, for your trouble they will pay you a sum of $50,000 just for helping them transfer their money.
The only thing is, there's a $1,000 fee that has to be paid first to set up the transaction. And, for some reason, YOU are the one who has to front the thousand bucks.
Obviously, there never was a Nigerian Prince. There never were millions of dollars. And your thousand dollars is gone forever.
The new "Fake Check Scam" is like that with one major difference: you actually DO get a check! Often for a staggering amount of money.
According to this report, the unnamed Abilene man was "hired" by a company who sent him a check for $205,000 with instructions to deposit the funds in his checking account and then wire the money to a different party. The man did as instructed and only found too late that the original check he was sent didn't clear his account. The website www.fraud.org says that you, as the victim, are going to be held financially responsible in most cases because, " you're the one in the best position (dealing directly with the other party) to determine the risk. It sounds like this guy in Abilene is on the hook for the missing 200K.
Some other advice they give about avoiding a Fake Check scam:
Be extremely suspicious of anyone proposing to send you money and then for you to either "send it back" or "send it on to another party".
No one is looking to pay you handsomely for something that requires a small amount of effort.
The checks may look legit. That's part of the scam.
(This one seems to cover all the bases)...There is no legitimate reason for someone who is giving you money to ask for you to wire it back.