FINRA | May 2017:
FINRA has received a number of calls recently from individuals who have received unexpected checks, some from organizations whose names are household words. To those callers, we offer a concise response: Don’t cash the check, it’s almost certainly counterfeit.
In many instances, the name of a real company appears on the check, as well as real account and routing numbers.
The common variety of this scam includes instructions to deposit the check in your bank account and then almost immediately transfer a portion of the money to someone else. Days later, your bank informs you that the check was counterfeit and that you are liable for the amount withdrawn, usually several thousand dollars. You’ve been scammed.
A variation of this scam simply delivers a check to your door, by registered mail or other delivery method that requires a signature. No instructions accompany the check—but FINRA suspects that once you deposit the check, you may further entangle yourself with the fraudster.
For example, you might be liable for the amount of the counterfeit check, your endorsement might give your account information to fraudsters, or you could receive follow-up attempts to phish for personal financial information—or some combination.
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