Why You Can’t Trust A Cashier’s Check

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks Flooding The Country

Many consumers assume that a cashier’s check is equivalent to cash.  That belief is now dangerous to your financial health as a tidal wave of counterfeit cashier’s checks are now flooding the country.  The counterfeit cashier checks can be very similar to authentic teller checks.  The average consumer would not be able to detect a counterfeit cashier’s check.  Often times, the depository institution accepting the check is not able to detect counterfeit checks until the check is returned unpaid.

It is not unusual to see one or two banks report to the FDIC that counterfeit teller checks bearing the bank’s name are in circulation.  This week, however, 14 different banking institutions across the country reported counterfeit cashier checks to the FDIC.   Counterfeit cashier checks bearing the following institution’s names were reported this week:

  1. Wolf River Community Bank, New London, Wisconsin
  2. First Associations Bank, Dallas, Texas
  3. County Bank, Merced, California
  4. Community Bank, Pasadena, California
  5. Ohio Vallley Bank, Gallipolis, Ohio
  6. South City Bank, Vestavia Hills, Alabama
  7. East River Bank, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  8. Community Bank of Florida, Homestead, Florida
  9. The Bank of Fairfield, Fairfield, CT
  10. Bank North, Wausaukee, Wisconsin
  11. The Wilton Bank, Wilton, CT
  12. Pacific National Bank, Miami, Florida
  13. Tropical Financial Credit Union, Miramar, Florida
  14. Financial Security Bank, Kerkhoven, Minnesota

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks Typically Used In Payment Scams

A typical scam using a counterfeit cashier’s check for a purchase usually involves the following ploy.  The purchaser presents to the seller a cashier’s check for more than what is owed and gives some elaborate explanation for why the check exceeds the amount due.  The seller accepting the cashier’s check feels safe, especially since the check exceeds the amount he is due.

The buyer then asks the seller to cash the cashier’s check and immediately forward the overpayment to him.  The con man knows that banks are required to make funds on the first $5,000 of a cashier’s check available to the depositor within one day.   The seller deposits the check and sends the overpayment to the purchaser.  In three to five days, the seller finds out that the cashier’s check was counterfeit and that his account has been debited to make restitution on the counterfeit check.

Consumer Vigilance Required – Here’s How To Protect Yourself

Consumers need to be aware of the scope of the problem involving counterfeit cashier’s checks.  Ohio Valley Bank, which has reported counterfeit checks bearing its name, has the following good advice for consumers.

If you can answer “YES” to any of the following questions,
you could be involved in a FRAUD or about to be SCAMMED

  • Is the CHECK from an item you sold on the internet, such as a car, boat, jewelry, etc.?
  • Is the amount of the CHECK more than the item’s selling price?
  • Did you receive the CHECK via an overnight delivery service?
  • Is the CHECK connected to communicating with someone by email?
  • Is the CHECK drawn on a business or individual account that is different from the person buying your item or product?
  • Have you been informed that you were the winner of a LOTTERY, such as Canadian, Australian, El Gordo, or El Mundo, that you did not enter?
  • Have you been instructed to either “WIRE”, “SEND” OR “SHIP” MONEY, as soon as possible, to a large U.S. city or to another country, such as Canada, England, or Nigeria?
  • Have you been asked to PAY money to receive a deposit from another country such as Canada, England, or Nigeria?
  • Are you receiving PAY or a COMMISSION of facilitating money transfers through your account?

Best Practices

  • If you cash or deposit a cashier’s check that is later found to be counterfeit, YOU are responsible for returning those funds to the bank where it was cashed. If it is questionable, ask the teller before you cash or deposit it.
  • Just because a bank teller cashes a cashier’s check doesn’t mean that it is good. Even if it is found to be counterfeit weeks later, you are responsible for returning the funds. Be especially wary of cashier’s checks that appear to be from banks outside your local area.
  • Do not respond to unsolicited e-mails
  • Be particularly wary of cashier’s checks that appear to come from a Canadian bank or another country.
  • If a cashier’s check is suspicious, call the issuing bank to verify it. Do not use information printed on the check to contact the bank, instead ask your bank or telephone directory assistance for help in locating the legitimate phone number.
  • If accepting a personal check or cashier’s check of which your are suspicious, consider asking the giver to put their thumbprint on the check itself. This will help law enforcement later if the check turns out to be bogus.
  • Safeguard your account numbers. Guard your checks closely. If you must store old checks, do so safely. Never just throw away old checks, always burn or shred them.
  • Report lost or stolen checks immediately
  • Guard your ATM PIN and ATM receipts. Shred old cards and receipts.
  • Use OVB Bill Pay to eliminate paper bills coming to your mailbox. These bills often include account numbers. Stealing mail is a common method that scammers use to steal your identity.
  • Remember, if it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is a scam. Be skeptical if you are told that you won a sweepstakes or foreign lottery. Be cautious in every financial deal you make.
  • Did you respond to an email requesting you to confirm, update or provide your account information?

Report Fraud To FDIC

Information about counterfeit items, cyber-fraud incidents and other fraudulent activity may be forwarded to the FDIC’s Cyber-Fraud and Financial Crimes Section, 550 17th Street, N.W., Room F-4004, Washington, D.C. 20429, or transmitted electronically to alert@fdic.gov.

Comments

  1. Did someone send you and cashier’s check or money order and wants you to wire any portion of it on to someone else, or back to them? If you can answer yes to this, it is a scam.

    Thank you for helping to educate people on these scams.

    Shawn Mosch
    Co-Founder of Scam Victims United

  2. john d butler says:

    hi, this is what i received in responce to my contractor for hire ad. let me know what you think, john.

    Hello,
    Thank you so much for getting back to me and i so much appreciate you swift response.I want to have you booked prior my arrival cos time is not on my side.I will need you to paint my bedroom and toilet as well as change their keys for me.I will send you the payment as soon as i have you details so that i can have your committment .I need your assistance and am Trusting you for this,cos its not that easy to entrust someone i have not seen in person, but i believe we all know each other one day and this will favor you well, cos am a very easy going person and well understanding. My Boss want to pay me off for the Project that i attended in CANADA, so he’s paying me with U.S Cashier Check/Money Orders, which can’t be cashed here in CANADA. If the payment(Check/Money Orders) is sent to you, so i want you to deduct the r required amount for your Advance service charges, then send the rest fund or sum to my Traveling Agent, cos its for my Flight Ticket Fees to the states As soon as possible, then keep the remaining balance for me till i arrive to the states. If
    your Location is far from my House, i will pay for your Transport Down there for the services to be rendered. I will show you round the house as well as take you there cos even if i mail you the key,the guards will not let you in because its a restricted area so i will take you there when i arrive.
    Note:
    I want you to know this before giving me your information for the advance payment prior to my arrival,
    1. Can you be doing this for me weekly. (Because i have
    another person that also needs the same service but i need
    to see your job first)
    2. How much will you charge me weekly.
    3. Tell me the amount you want to charge weekly ,forget
    about the distance.
    4. I would like to pay you 1 month upfront
    5. How much will it be for a month. ,so If you are interested doing this for me, i need the following ,
    Details(information) Below:
    FULL NAME :
    FULL ADDRESS :
    CITY:
    STATE:
    ZIP CODE:
    TELEPHONE:
    CELL PHONE:
    I need this information to issue the check, because i have to do everything fast and also my Boss is traveling for Business purpose, so he needs this information so he can issue the check and send it to you ASAP, immediately he sends the check, i will forward the Courrier Tracking Number to you and it will Deliver Unfailingly within 3 business days. i want you to do a perfect work in my House. As soon as the information required from you is sent to me and the payment will be issued and get to you contact address Asap coz it takes 2-3 business days toget delivered Looking forward to hear from you.
    N.B……Plz email me your referee;s information if available.
    Thanks.
    Julia Arthur

    julia_arthur27@yahoo.com

  3. RJ Miller says:

    I received the same Email from julia_arthur27@yahoo.com but all
    communication stopped when I questioned 2 different amounts on
    the Cashiers check. I still have the check but no intention of
    trying to cash it. If anyone knows where Julia is let me know.

  4. I sold some data to a new client. I did all the verification on this new client like I do to all new clients, everything seemed correct, even the number matched the address and area. So, I sold the data to this person/company, and waited for the check to clear. Well two weeks later I get a call from my check cashing facility I generally use, that the check came back counterfeit… Oh lord I was PISSED, because I sent a ton of data to this party, cashed their bogus check and now am left with my person I got to pay for the research, the bad check, check fee, and lost data.

    Be careful because if I can get scammed so can you!

  5. Problem Bank List Staff says:

    This is becoming an even more serious problem. The FDIC issues 20 to 30 advisories every month regarding counterfeit cashier’s checks, and discloses the names of the banks appearing on the counterfeit checks. Even an informed and cautious consumer can be a victim of fraud since the counterfeit checks are of high quality. The only defense is to be ultra cautious and have the check examined by the bank that it is issued on. If the check is from an out of state bank not in the consumer’s geographic area, exceptional caution should be exercised.

  6. I tried to help out the bank i had banked at for 20 years by taking the checks so they could take it from there but they put the checks in my account but i didnt spend any of the money that i knew wouldnt be there but anyway long story,short the bank says i was fraudulent and refuse to continue to have an account in my name so i found that the best thing to do is just throw them in trash.

  7. To John, the letter you posted is from a scammer. Do not contact them.

    To Problem Bank List Staff, you said “The only defense is to be ultra cautious and have the check examined by the bank that it is issued on.” I would have to caution people about doing this also. We have seen victims bring a check into the bank to be “verified” and they have been arrested with the bank charging them with trying to defraud the bank, saying that since you are standing here holding that check (that is counterfeit) YOU must be the counterfeiter. People should call the bank, but don’t call a number on the check, that could be incorrect information . . . look up the number on your own.

    When it comes down to it, when you are sent/given a cashier’s check and asked to wire ANY portion of it, it is a scam.

  8. Problem Bank List Staff says:

    Very good point. Due to the fact that counterfeit checks represent such a major financial risk to consumers, in a follow up post of August 6, 2010, we wrote that “If accepting payment in the form of a cashier’s check for the sale of an item, exercise due diligence to avoid potential problems. Check with your bank on the authenticity of the cashier’s check, or better yet, hold off on delivery of the item sold until the cashier’s check clears your bank account”.
    http://problembanklist.com/counterfeit-cashiers-checks-continue-to-flood-the-banking-system-0159/

  9. A person from another state wants to buy a $400 item from me using a cashiers check via FedEx. The person said that they would need my name and delivery address in order to send the check. The person also said that they would wait to send out a mover to pick up the item until the my bank cleared the check. Could this be a scam?

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