A couple of weeks ago I posted a link to Snoskred’s article in which she describes having received more than $5M in fake checks. I knew we had to hear more from her. I’ve Tried That is pleased to feature this guest post to help educate you about fake check scams. Want to get regular scambusting updates from I’ve Tried That? Sign up for e-mail or RSS updates. -Joe
They say if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. For those of us who want to work from home for family, health or other reasons the available REAL jobs are few and far between. However, there’s plenty of scammers out there who will prey on your situation and take advantage of you.
Any kind of job which requires you to
– receive checks and deposit them in your personal bank account.
– receive money orders and cash them
– receive goods
– receive funds into your bank account
and then to
– forward goods on to somebody else
– forward money on to somebody else
– send money via Western Union or Moneygram
is not any kind of legitimate job. It has to be some kind of scam. It is highly illegal. You have no idea where those funds have originated from.
It might be drug money. It could belong to terrorists. It could have been given to you by another scam victim in order to make it more difficult to trace where the money went. The goods may have been purchased with a stolen credit card. But you need money, so you might not think about it too deeply. Believe me, going ahead with a “job” like this this will end in tears.
An important note about checks
Checks can bounce up to a year to two years after you deposit them. The reason for this is because the scammer may have stolen the bank information of a legitimate company and the company may not realise funds have been disappearing until the accountant looks at their books—sometimes this happens only once a year.
If you do bank checks which are stolen or fake, you can be arrested and sent to jail. You will also be held responsible to pay the funds back to the bank. You will have no way of getting the money back from the scammers.
If you think your financial situation is bad now, wait until you’re having to pay money back to the bank for a job you thought was legitimate.
The Tellers Don’t Know
You might even ask the teller, “Has this check cleared?” And you would usually be told YES, absolutely it has, just like most check scam victims this has already happened to. If you ask a teller has this check cleared, you might as well ask your postman the same question. Do you want to place your entire financial future into the hands of that bank teller?
Tellers are generally not trained about clearance procedures. Some bank managers are even unaware that checks can bounce so much later. Until it happens to a customer of theirs, they don’t know about it.
Get It In Writing
Even if you said to your bank, “I want you to put it in writing that this check has cleared,” that will not protect you at all when the check bounces. Try asking them to put it in writing and you’ll find most of them will not agree to do it. I know a scam victim who did get a written letter from the bank manager. When the check bounced, he still had to pay the full amount back. The bank took NO responsibility for the situation.
You Are Unprotected
Credit card fraud used to be a major problem for the banks, but because they are held responsible for charges made on stolen credit cards they have put a lot of work and effort into solving the problem. They are doing absolutely nothing about check fraud because they do not have to pay. The person who banked the fraudulent or stolen check has to pay.
So How Do These Scams Work?
I’ve baited a lot of these scammers—so many in fact that I have collected over 5 million dollars worth of fake checks, money orders and travellers checks from them. Here is an example of what the scammers say.
The Scammer Emails Me
Date: 15 June 2007
From: ES Oil and Gas Ltd (google results do not show a company with this name, and scam results)
Reply To: firstname.lastname@example.org (note the yahoo.com.hk email address)
Subject: Company Commission Agent Required (there is no such job, unless you are actually selling things)
(this section below is to make it look more legitimate but note the scammer has messed it up and given two street addresses)
From The Desk Of
Mr. Larry James
ES Oil and Gas Ltd
2711 Metrople Square
2 On Yiu Street
Tel/Fax: +852-301-71646. (googling the telephone number brings up 3 different names – larry james, carol harvey, george martin lee using this telephone number, all scams)
I am Mr.Dannie Wang (sorry, I thought you said you were Larry James?) of ES Oil and Gas Ltd. We are an OPEC members that deals on crude oil, raw materials and export to Canada, America, Europe and Asia. Our company is also into promotions and entertainments. We are looking for a reliable commission agent who can help us receive payments from customers that our company supplies Goods to in Canada, America, Europe and Asia as well as making Payments through you to us. Please if you are reliable and Interested in been a commission agent with our company we will be glad but you have to be an honest and a trustworthy person. Note that, as our commission agent, you will receive some percentage and motivations on whatever amount that is paid by our debtors through you to us. Be informed that THERE IS NO FINANCIAL OBLIGATION AT YOUR END as a commission agent. Please, to facilitate and proceed if accepted, do send your information to the Chief Executive Officer:Name Mr.Dannie Wang.Email:( email@example.com ) Thank you for your time as we are looking forward to working With you as you send your response back to us.
Mr. Dannie Wang
I Reply –
Do you have the requirement of hiring someone in Australia?
(with another name change – this time back to front)
Thanks a lot for your swift response to our proposition. We are prepared to employ your services as our Representative for CANADA & UNITED STATES as well as EUROPEAN continent, after putting things in place with you and we are also ready to follow every applicable law of CANADA & UNITED STATES as well as European continent. We would be glad to transact with you and having you as our representative for these region.
Before I proceed further let me start by Introducing myself. My name is Wang Dannie, Personel Manager of Blue Gas Ltd In Thailand and Hong Kong. We need a reliable and competent representative to make direct collection on our behalf and acting under the full approval of our firm after all necessary modalities have being put in place between you and the company, Blue Gas Ltd and after entering into an agreement confirming this deal.
We are currently having problems between our local staffs over here in Thailand and Hong Kong and also customers from these regions as a result of language barrier and different cultural backgrounds thereby causing delays in payments from our propespective customers from this region and also as a result of the delays it takes for these checks to get cleared over here in Thailand thereby causing delays in our supply channel.
On the advice of an expert we started making necessary contact, recently, to prospective candidate that will make direct collections on our behalf for a commission of 10% and remitting the balance Of 90% into our account via electronic transfer, so that we can serve our customers in these region more efficiently as a result of the fast means of picking up our cash thereby allowing for a constant cash inflow as well as outflows and making business more profitable and beneficial for all parties involved.
Clients normally make payment to us via Companies check and or Western Union Money transfer, depending on the amount of goods in question which we would instruct them to issue in your favour in the capacity of our representative for this region.
This is exactly how our transaction will hold and We will send you MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING, MOU, which shall make us Legal binding in our transaction with you as SOON as when transaction from our customer commences.
We are very confident to work with you and employing your services as our representative for both Canada / United States . On agreement, You shall be collecting payments on our behalf depending on the client we have at hand and as well as the volume of transaction involved, We normally handles transaction for now to a maximum of USD$700,000.00 and below as the case may be and your 10% will be applicable for any amount of funds collected on our behalf after signing the Legal MOU, attached below and remitting the balance of 90% into an account to be provided for you by the firm via electronic wire transfer.
On the receipt of this mail and the conclusion of these modalities, I shall give further instruction on how to contact one of our clients who is readily available to make payment to us as soon as we are able to attach him to any of our representatives.
Thanking you both for accepting this offer as we send our greetings from our entire staffs as we also await your timely responses.
Blue Gas Ltd.
NB: Please fill out this form and return back to us
Please for your information make sure that the address that you filled out in the form that was sent to you is a valid and correct address in which my customer can contact you for immediate payment and document through to you as our company representative, Please you are to resend us you correct address in which contact can be made to you as soon as payment is ready from our customers as both party as discussed
Did you note the company name has changed too? These scammers use so many scammer and company names, they can’t keep it straight. This is one clue things might not be legitimate. Usually people know the name of the company they work for—and their own names!
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am using a special tool to bait these scammers, and from this point on a computer is writing the emails for me. So it won’t always do exactly what the scammer wants it to do. Like fill in silly little forms like you see above. It does pick up on certain words and responds to them, but from here on in, the computer is in charge and the scammer is along for the ride.
The Computer Replies –
Hello Mr Dannie,
Please clarificationize precisely what this position requires of myself in your next communique and then if I am excited to continue I will provide what you are asking for. I don’t understand what you want me to do with this memorandum of understanding?
I will be jumping with joy to hear from you. Your emails have delighted me so far. Are you single and looking for a wife? Maybe your ship has finally come in, and mine too! Can we share a cabin on the sea of life?
I Hope To Receive News From You Soon,
The Scammer Responds –
With the receipt of your email. Please kindly note that the MOU ( Memorandum of Understanding is serving as a legal aid for both party involve in this transaction and also serve as terms and condition for this great company.
Please you are therefore advice to send to us your full details so that we can proceed further on this transaction.
We await your immediate response ASAP today.
Hmm, looks like he is not interested in sharing a cabin with me. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.
The Computer Replies –
G’day Mr Wang,
Thanks for your email. It is a gracious pleasure to communicate with someone as beautiful and pretty as yourself. I look forward to your emails as much as I look forward to any pleasure in life. Please explain this memorandum of understanding as I am unable to understand your understanding of it? Do you understand it?
Here are my details as requested.
I am Cristhin Rosamund
I am 42. I am single. Are you Single?
I work as a customer service manager.
Telephone number = (telephone number removed)
I bank with St George Bank.
Mail can be sent to me as follows:
(PO Box address removed; it is a safe mail address)
If you need further details let me know.
Hope To Hear From You Soon,
The scammer goes quiet for about two weeks, and then sends this:
Please kindly update us on payment made to you by our customer and the said amount is $ 32,565.10 USD.
Please update us immediately today on how you will proceed with company funds and also with all necessary information how you will disburse the money.
The Board of Trustee will look forward to your immediate email today in this regards.
I’ve Got Mail –
The next time I went to my PO box, I found this:
Note the check is not for the same amount he told me it would be for, either: 32,565.10 vs. 35,565.10.
How YOU can help!
If you own a blog yourself, mention this blog post on YOUR blog so all the readers of your blog can be educated on this important topic. Feel free to link to this post.
– Link to this article in my internet safety series which speaks about these scams.
– If you know anyone who has any questions about these scams I am only an email away. However there are some great websites on the internet that try to help as well:
- Scam Victims United
- Fraud Aid
- Stumble this blog post with Stumbleupon, if you are a member.
- Digg this blog post.
- Email a link to today’s blog post to your friends and family.
- Now you know about this scam – there are so many others out there. Always ask if you’re not sure. The Fraudwatchers forum “Is this a Scam” is a good place to post a question you might have.
- Let your friends and family know about the Scam-O-Matic, a Web form that can look at an email and tell you if the email looks like a known scam. Is this email a scam? Ask the Scam-O-Matic.
Tips for Recognizing and Avoiding Fake Check Scams
Mom, Daughter Face Check Fraud Charges
‘Secret shopper’ job was fraud scheme
Scam turns winners’ into losers
Email scam could cost you everything
Unwary consumers duped by counterfeit check scams
Be wary of some check deposits
Don’t cash that check!
Consumer group warns of growing check scam.
Please note this quote in the above article by the executive vice-president of the American Banking Association: “Federal law requires banks to make the funds you deposit available quickly, but it’s important for consumers to know that just because you can withdraw the money doesn’t mean the check is good,” said Edward Yingling, executive vice president for ABA.”
About The Author
Snoskred is from Australia. You can find out more about Snoskred and her scambaiting activities at Life In The Country – drop by and say hi! ;)