To find out a check’s status, call your bank twice (talk to two different workers in case one doesn’t understand the process) to verify that the check has been fully processed. Otherwise you lose the money if the check is a fake.
I just got done reading the article at the Consumer Law and Policy Blog entitled How Chase Bank Almost Helped a Teenager Get Scammed. This story points out exactly what we at Scam Victims United have been talking about since 2003. The banks will tell people that the checks are “clear”, “good” or “verified” but none of those words mean anything about the customer’s protection from risk when these checks come back as counterfeit. The bank will still hold the customer liable for the entire amount.
I think this is wrong. When the bank employee tells you that the check is “clear”, “good” or “verified” that should be the same as a verbal contract, and if something should come up later with that same check the BANK should hold some, if not all, of the liability. Isn’t that the job of the bank, to verify these checks?
This is why we have started the petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/view/create_scam_education_and_awareness_programs asking for a change in these laws and better consumer protection against theses scams. We have also gone out to local high schools to give presentations to the students in order to educate them about these scams, and the banking terms. We need to give not only our teens, but everyone, the tools that they need to protect themselves from these scams.
Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!
Sign our petition for Scam Education and Awareness Programs
Being arrested can be one of the most frightening experiences for a person, but when you add that to being the victim of a scam, you can defiantly feel like you are on an emotional roller-coaster.
Most people know the saying “Innocent until proven guilty” but the scam victims that I have spoken with that have been arrested would say that they were seen as guilty until they could prove they were innocent. Why is this? Over the years some businesses and banking institutions have gotten better at detecting a counterfeit cashier’s check or money order, but instead of warning the customer that the item is a counterfeit and that they are involved in a scam, they instead call the police into the matter and press criminal charges against the customer. These businesses and financial institutions will charge that the customer was aware that the document was counterfeit and that they were trying to defraud them . . . basically, that they were in on the scam. Most times the customer is truly an innocent person who really believed that the cashier’s check sent to them was good, or was only going to the bank to ask them to verify it and then before they know it then end up in handcuffs in a police department.
If you find yourself in this situation you need to read the document “The At Risk of Arrest and Arrested Fraud Victim Manual” This document will cover you and your relationship with law enforcement, your attorney, how to write a narrative of what happened to you, as well as defining some of the legal terms that you will hear so that you know better what to expect.
One of the really important things that this document says is that if you are a fraud/scam victim and you feel you are at risk of being arrested, keep a copy of this manual with you at all times. If something happens, you can refer to this document so that you don’t panic and say or do something that will make your situation worse. NEVER wave you Miranda Rights.
While we were never arrested in our case, I do understand the feeling of panic of becoming a scam victim. My first thoughts were “Who do I call? Where do I report this?” That is exactly why we have the Resources page on our site. When you feel like your world has been turned upside-down and you don’t know what to do, write up one letter that includes all of the information on what happened . . . names, dates, who said what and when . . . and then send that one letter to all of the agencies listed at our Resource Page. We also have information on banking terms on this page along with other helpful tips like
Also, for support from others who have been in your shoes, you can talk to other scam victims at our message board. Many people find this to be like an online therapy session.
Here is an email that got past my Spam filter.
This is to inform you that your e-mail has won you a total sum of £950,000.00 GBP (NINE HUNDRED & FIFTY THOUSAND POUNDS) in the Pepsi lottery of 2010. To claim your prize Contact Shaw Hendrick at: email@example.com
NOTE: ALL REPLIES MUST BE ADDRESSED TO Shaw Hendrick: firstname.lastname@example.org
First, you have to enter a contest/lottery/sweepstakes in order to win. Second, I am going to guess if there was a Pepsi Lottery going on, they would have ads EVERWHERE telling people about it. Third, if this person really worked for Pepsi, they would have an official Pepsi Company email address.
So how does this scam play out? I am going to guess that you will either be asked for your bank account information so that they can directly deposit your winnings, but instead will take everything from your account. The other option is that they will send you a cashier’s check for your winnings, and you will have to send a portion of that check back to them (maybe to cover legal fees for your winnings) but the problem will come AFTER you wire them the money and the bank calls you to tell you that the check is counterfeit and they now want you to pay them back. You cannot just wait for the check to “clear” or be “verified” because even if the bank told you it was “clear” it can come back as counterfeit a week later . . . I know . . . that is what our former back told us!