Fake check Scams are becoming more common. Fake checks account for a third of complaints to the National Consumers League and other agencies according to Sid Kirchleimer the author of Scam-Proof Your Life.
You could receive a check for a competition or lottery you never entered. This is how it works.
You are asked to deposit the check and then forward an amount nominated in the letter to an address, usually by wire transfer before you are able to collect your winnings.
Right away you need to be suspicious. By the time the bank has informed you that the check is fake, you have already sent the money and they have flown the coup and no where to be found. You are responsible for the money withdrawn from that deposit and you may even have to face criminal charges or have your bank account frozen.
Here are some clue’s to a’ Fake’ check.
1. If your check has smooth edges be suspicious – Most checks have a rough or perforated edge.
2. No Bank Logo – Often a fake check has no bank logo or it is faded which is a clue that it has been copied from a photo. The bank logo may be misspelt in a way that it is not noticeable.
3. Observe the address on the check – It will probably be a false address or zip code. Ring the bank and check the address.
4. Look at the check number – Make sure that the number on the upper right hand corner matches the number at the bottom of the check.
5. The amount – It will probably be less than $5000 as federal rules require that deposits of that size be made available to you within five days. You of course will assume that the check has been cleared. Deposits of $5000 or more are subject to longer holding periods.
6. Check the paper – if the texture of the paper does not feel right, ask your bank to confirm the authenticity.
7. Signature – check the signature. If it does not look like a genuine signature and has the appearance that it may be digitally done have someone look at it at the bank.
8. MICR line – This is a line of numbers at the bottom of the check. The genuine magnetic ink looks and feels dull to touch. Fake MICR numbers are often shiny.
9. Routing number – These are the first nine digits of the MICR line that make up the routing number. This number identifies which bank issued the check. Its a fake if there is no numbers in this area. To verify routing numbers go to fededirectory.frb.org/reserve.cfm
Source: Sid Kirchheimer