We received this very good question from Brian about how badly scammers can hurt you once they capture your information:

I’m trying to answer a question I don’t see asked anywhere online.

I was recently victimized by an overpayment scam, and presumably a fake check. I fill out a new fraud report every day, but am slowly coming to terms with the loss (though I can’t believe there is no class action lawsuit or something against the banks for “clearing checks” and misleading you when you ask them what that means).

Anyway, my question is how vulnerable am I to be revictimized by this scammer? He doesn’t have any account numbers or anything. I did write my account number on the back of the check when I endorsed it, though.

What happens to that physical check when it is returned? Will this guy see it again? He has my name, address and phone… even if he can’t access my account can he use this information to mock up another fake check and send it to someone else?

Before I took the fake check to my bank, I called the issuing bank (I got their number from their website) and they verified the routing and account numbers as well as the company name on the check.

As long as he doesn’t have my account number I’m not too worried. But if the fake check makes its way back to him, I am concerned.


This reader was scammed once, apparently putting his real name and contact information on what proved to be a fake check. Should he be worried? The short answer is yes: any time a proven scumbag knows your name and where you live, you should be careful. However, what is the real threat, and have people been hurt by having their info out there like this before?

We turned to the real expert for answers to this question: Snoskred, who knows all there is to know about fake check scams. We’ve invited her to respond in the comments section of this post.

Thanks for speaking up, Brian! I hope your questions will help others.

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  • Joe

    Thanks, Ben. The only problem with this advice is that banks have often told victims that yes, the check is good. The bank then comes back later (up to a year later) and says to the victim, hey, you cashed a bogus check and you owe us $2900 plus fees. Read Snoskred’s links in the above post–you’ll get the whole horror story.

  • ben campbell
    ben campbell

    dear brian, I got the old i’ve won a lottery scam in the mail the other day i call the number of the scammer just for kicks his number was of is 12898881926 he was a black man said i was a lucker winner put the 2900.00 check i got in the bank and call him back in two working days after the check had cleared i talked to my banker she call union bank ok california they said it was a fake check then she made a copy of it what happed then i dont know but i didnt get scammed i thought about calling the scammer back and giving him an ear full but i never did probably never will so pass on to your readers that if this happens to them all they have to do is call their bank or the bank the check is written on to see if the check is good they will be glad you did is alot better then being scammed , ben

  • Brian

    Thanks. That puts me a little more at ease.

  • Snoskred

    The chances of a scammer seeing that check again are extremely unlikely. The only people who will see that check now are the bank and law enforcement.

    It is not likely that the company who appeared on the check would be able to get access to it. The scammer has no hope of getting access to it – and trying to get access to it would put them at risk of arrest.

    You’re pretty safe with the address. It is unlikely that they will turn up on your doorstep. Scammers want to scam more money out of people – they’ll be focusing on that, not on harassing people they tried to scam previously. You could raise your security precautions around home for a little bit, if you feel it necessary.

    He can’t use your address, name or phone number to create a fake check with your details on it. He needs your account information to do that. Plenty of companies give that information out when asked, that is who the scammers tend to target which is why you got a check with a company name on it – and also why the routing and account numbers matched the company name.

    Scam victims have certainly been kidnapped and killed before but so far this has happened only when they travel to Africa to meet their scammers in person. Once a scammer gets out of Africa it is very unlikely they will do anything that might result in their being sent back there and kidnap and murder are two things they generally steer clear of. They tend to concentrate on counterfeiting checks when they land in the USA or Canada. Maybe they think that won’t get them deported. They’re wrong, because if they get caught they will be deported.

    The scammer may try to contact you again, and they may try a different scam on you seeing as they managed to scam you once. If they can’t manage to scam you, they will pass your email address on to every scamming friend they know.

    My advice would be to close the email account you used to email them and open a brand new one, and get educated on the scams that are out there. They can’t scam you if you know all their tricks.

    The most important thing to remember is – no money is coming to you as a surprise via your email inbox. If someone you don’t know contacts you offering you money, it HAS to be a scam.

    I hope that helps. ;)


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