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  #1  
Old 08 December 2013, 08:18 PM
KingDavid8 KingDavid8 is offline
 
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Default Sending a fake check to steal bank account info

Saw this on Facebook. A lot of things about it don't make sense.



Quote:
Hey Friends, Got this from a friend Kyle : Everyone please be careful. I just received an envelope from FedEx that contained a check for 1300.00, however I had no idea where it came from. When calling the phone number it was a disconnected number. The group that it says the check came from is based out of Toledo. The check says that its from Huntington bank. I called Huntington, and the lady said that people will do this in hopes of getting your account information when you deposit the check. Please please please pass this along so nobody gets their account info stolen. Always double check anything you get in the mail before cashing anything.
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  #2  
Old 08 December 2013, 08:52 PM
Singing in the Drizzle Singing in the Drizzle is offline
 
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Check Scam Could Clean Out Your Account

The big question is how or why does the person sending the check receive your account information when you deposit the check. If the information is only that bank and account number, what is to stop anyone how receives a check from you, using the bank routing number and account number printed on your check to take all your money.

Anyway the big question is that if a con artist is able to get enough information to withdrawal all the money in your checking account from the deposit of a bad (or even valid) check. Then the banks should be fixing this problem.
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  #3  
Old 08 December 2013, 10:03 PM
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Not_Done_Living Not_Done_Living is offline
 
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i can think of NO WAY this could work --cheques have been in use for 100 years -- if there was a way for them to clean out your account i would think the very act of YOU giving someone YOUR cheque would be a bigger threat -- not them sending YOU a cheque which YOU cash, and they somehow benefit.
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  #4  
Old 08 December 2013, 10:41 PM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
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The idea isn't to get your account number from the fake check (which they couldn't). They would try to get you to "return the money" before the check clears. The check is big enough that they make you think you're going to get to keep some cash if you cooperate. They use the name of a real charity so that the marks will at once feel like they're returning money to the needy while at the same time getting a reward for depositing money that doesn't belong to them.
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  #5  
Old 08 December 2013, 11:49 PM
Alchemy Alchemy is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
The idea isn't to get your account number from the fake check (which they couldn't).
The writer of the check, if written from a legit account, could (after the check clears both banks) see the endorsement on the back of the check, and perhaps get the routing # of the bank it was presented to with a bit of investigation. The endorsement might have something useful in it; the signature at least, and maybe a person would actually write "For deposit only into account 12345." But all this requires the check be legit and actually transfer actual funds, which of course it is not, so no information is going to get back to the fake check writer.

My guess is that this is part of the "return the money" scam you mention, and something fell apart during the scam. Either the place got shut down, the scammers moved on, they mailed the checks accidentally, etc. Like getting robodialed by a malfunctioning telemarketer.

For example: If I ran this scam, I'd probably send out the bad checks with some contact information, fake except for a burner phone number. When called back, I'd realize the error, be totally horrified, beg the person to deposit the check and send the funds back to me by a not-very-traceable means, minus whatever they think is reasonable help me out and save my job. I'd get the money back into the company account on the sly, and cover the missing funds with my own money, and that's fair considering my error. Seriously, my boss is looking for any excuse to fire me, and when he finds out I sent this check to the wrong person, that's just it for me. (&c &c.) I'd negotiate badly to wiggle the bait a bit. Whatever it takes to distract the mark from the obvious remedy of destroying the check or mailing it back. I'd also send out a hundred of the damn things at once, figuring the contact information I left would get police attention after a few days. Whoever calls back I'll run the scam on, and after 3 days pass, I'd just cut and run. Anyone who called after that would just get an abandoned phone number.

But yeah, I'm guessing this was a scam where the scammer hit a bunch of marks at once and skipped town, so the marks that didn't respond fast enough just got a disconnected number.
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  #6  
Old 08 December 2013, 11:56 PM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
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The contact information is likely to be in another country. The excuse is that the legit charity on the check is funding programs in Africa, which the mark would find in a few minutes online. So it would come as no surprise that the payment has to go to Africa.
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  #7  
Old 10 December 2013, 03:43 PM
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mela681 mela681 is offline
 
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Several years ago, I got a similar check that was supposed to be a prize from a survey. I never deposited it because it seemed like a scam. I do take some online surveys but not from the people that issued the check, and the most I've made from that is about $20 a year. The check was for, IIRC, around $1000.

I took the check to the bank (after extreme prodding from my husband who was convinced it was real) and asked them about it and got pretty much the same answer as was in the OP. The lady I talked to said that it was a scam and they were trying to get my account information, but she wouldn't tell me how that was possible. The lady at the bank kept the check, "to help with fraud prevention."

The one I got wasn't from a charity. The name had something to do with an education book publisher, but I don't remember which one. At the time, I searched online but could not find any reference to a scam that operated in this way.
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  #8  
Old 10 December 2013, 09:59 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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I wonder if the scam is supposed to go something like this:

1. Person A receives bogus check and tries to deposit or cash it.
2. Bank says check is invalid, please contact the Organization that sent it.
3. Person contacts Organization.
4. Organization says Person A's bank is confused and/or incompetent and/or aren't smart enough to handle an international check and/or ...
5. Organization says, to make things easier just forward the account number, bank Id, routing number etc. and they'll deposit the funds directly in Person A's account.
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  #9  
Old 11 December 2013, 12:16 PM
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Auntie Witch Auntie Witch is offline
 
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I've gotten checks in the mail that have fine print somewhere that say depositing it indicates my agreement to do something (like sign up for a year's service, or accept it as a loan at xx% interest rate, etc).
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  #10  
Old 11 December 2013, 03:28 PM
dewey dewey is offline
 
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I have received checks in the mail for small amounts before and I never cash them. If I did the person would have my bank name, account number, and signature. There would be nothing to prevent them from ordering or printing checks with my name and account number on them and then writing these checks to themselves or accomplices. Whether they used my signature or not these checks could probably be cashed. Even if I got the money back from the bank the bank would lose out.

And why does this not happen all the time? Because most people who send you checks are not scammers and have know intention of ripping you off. That is why I only cash checks that I am expecting to receive.

dewey
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  #11  
Old 12 December 2013, 07:10 AM
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Sandgroper Sandgroper is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dewey View Post
I have received checks in the mail for small amounts before and I never cash them. If I did the person would have my bank name, account number, and signature. dewey
How does depositing a cheque in anyway give the person who sent that cheque those details???

In Australia and the UK whenever I got a cheque I would mail it off with a deposit slip to my bank and in 3-5 working days that money would appear in my account (or you could deposit it at the bank or post office). If I write a cheque for someone I write their name, the amount to pay them & sign it and send it off to them, I would never see that cheque again (and would only know that they even deposited it because the money has been taken from my account). I would get no information on that personís bank account or ever see their signature. Maybe things work differently in the US but here the only risk you run depositing a cheque is that it may bounce and cause you unwanted bank fees.
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  #12  
Old 12 December 2013, 12:29 PM
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UEL UEL is offline
 
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At my bank, I only have to sign a cheque if I am cashing it outright. If it is getting deposited into my account, it need not be signed.

So, signature would not be had.
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  #13  
Old 12 December 2013, 01:05 PM
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Lainie Lainie is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dewey View Post
I have received checks in the mail for small amounts before and I never cash them. If I did the person would have my bank name, account number, and signature.
I don't understand why. I have never gotten those details for anyone I've written a check to (well, bank, maybe).
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  #14  
Old 12 December 2013, 01:56 PM
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hambubba hambubba is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UEL View Post
At my bank, I only have to sign a cheque if I am cashing it outright. If it is getting deposited into my account, it need not be signed.

So, signature would not be had.
That's something fairly "new" in the US. My wife is convinced that you have to put the account number and signature on a check at a machine deposit. Ours are set so that it reads the check, and the amount, when it's deposited. There's no need for a signature, but it could be an old habit that dies hard.

My sister in law got one of these ( few weeks after we did) and was convinced the money was hers. I had her call the bank it was drawn on, in the states, but the company was listed as Canadian. Took over a week to convince her it was fake - unemployed, no money coming in, etc. A perfect target. All she had to do was survey some products - hey THEY ALREADY PAID HER!

It did have the backup documentation on "what to do" which seems to be missing in this case.
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  #15  
Old 12 December 2013, 02:04 PM
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Lainie Lainie is offline
 
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I've had checking accounts since the late 1970s and I never put my account number on a check I was depositing or cashing. Before ATMs, that's what deposit slips were for.

ETA: If I wanted to cash a check outright, I'd have to go to the teller anyway, and then they'd look up my account or I'd give them the number.
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  #16  
Old 12 December 2013, 02:45 PM
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GenYus234 GenYus234 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandgroper View Post
How does depositing a cheque in anyway give the person who sent that cheque those details??? [bank name, account number, and signature]
I don't think it is common much anymore, but US banks used to send you all of your processed checks back when they'd email you your checking statement. If the person you wrote the check to had written their account number and endorsed the check, then you'd have all of that information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
I've had checking accounts since the late 1970s and I never put my account number on a check I was depositing or cashing. Before ATMs, that's what deposit slips were for.
I was taught to put the account number on the check so that it could still be processed in case it and the deposit slip were separated. Also, I was told that a check with an account number couldn't be cashed, so if I lost the check, whoever found it couldn't use it. Don't know if the latter is true or not, but I suspect not.
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  #17  
Old 12 December 2013, 05:41 PM
UrbanLegends101 UrbanLegends101 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post

I was taught to put the account number on the check so that it could still be processed in case it and the deposit slip were separated. Also, I was told that a check with an account number couldn't be cashed, so if I lost the check, whoever found it couldn't use it. Don't know if the latter is true or not, but I suspect not.
I've a rubber stamp with FOR DEPOSIT ONLY and the account number.

Never heard that having the account number made it not cashable, but I am aware of "crossed" checks, which, in theory, could only be deposited.

Never saw this in the US. I first ran into this concept in the Philippines, and had taken a check for something I sold. Had to convince the bank on which it was written to call the writer to authorize them to cash the check. I didn't have nor was I going to open a peso account.

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/crossedcheck.asp
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  #18  
Old 12 December 2013, 05:44 PM
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RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
The idea isn't to get your account number from the fake check (which they couldn't).
Lots of banks write the account number on the back of the check when they cash it. This helps with their reconciliation. The bank also stamps information on the back for routing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Not_Done_Living
i can think of NO WAY this could work --cheques have been in use for 100 years
But electronic transfer of funds has not.

The only question is whether this scam actually exists (and the news report is strong evidence it does). If it exists, then there is a way to make money from it. The rest is just trivial.
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  #19  
Old 12 December 2013, 07:10 PM
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erwins erwins is offline
 
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If the check is bogus like the one in the OP, then it isn't getting back to the sender to pass on any information stamped on it.

The question whether the scam exists is valid, as are questions about how it works. The mere existence of a news story about something doesn't definitively prove it is true. There are examples of that on this site on probably a daily basis. What's the latest craze among teenagers, or in Japan these days?
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  #20  
Old 12 December 2013, 07:18 PM
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Lainie Lainie is offline
 
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One story by local news does not constitute what I'd call "strong evidence."
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