(NAPS) - A new scam is swindling consumers: checks that seem legitimate to both bank employees and consumers, but that are counterfeit and leave unsuspecting consumers footing the bill.
The Federal Trade Commission has a new brochure, “Giving the Bounce to Counterfeit Check Scams,” which explains common angles used in these scams, the responsibilities of banks and consumers when it comes to counterfeit checks, and advice on how to avoid them.
While the angles used by scam artists may vary, the basics of the counterfeit check scam remain the same. The consumer receives a generous check with an explanation that he or she has just won an award, a prize, a lottery or some other windfall. The consumer is instructed to deposit the check and wire a portion back to pay fees, taxes or the like. The consumer deposits the check, the bank credits the funds to the consumer’s account and the consumer wires the money to the sender. Some time later, both the bank and the consumer learn the check was bogus.
Unfortunately, the consumer is out of luck: The money that was wired can’t be retrieved and, by law, the consumer is responsible for the deposited check - even though he or she didn’t know it was fake. The FTC advises consumers not to rely on funds from checks unless they know and trust the person who gave them the check or, better yet, until the bank confirms that the check has cleared. Other tips:
To file a complaint and for more information, visit www.ftc.gov.