Fraud Schemes

Stay Alert

You should be very critical of unsolicited telephone calls from phony businesses, banking institutions, foreign countries, or government agencies where promises or threats are made.

Numerous fraud schemes involving mortgage assistance, outstanding tax collection, foreign government assistance, and even to companies promising to return money lost are impacting citizens throughout the county. These scams almost always request money be paid up front for services, or the threat of arrest, eviction or property seizure is made.

  1. Counterfeit Check Scams
  2. Curb Painting
  3. IRS Scams
  4. Jury Duty Scams
  5. Overdue Bill Scam
  6. Senior Targeted Scams

How It Works

The scammer offers to buy an item for several hundred dollars (or more), but use a counterfeit check. Once the check is delivered, the check scammer claims they mistakenly overpaid the agreed-upon amount. 

The scammer then simply requests the recipient/victim cash or deposit the check and return the difference of over-payment via a money order or cash. When the check is processed, the victim receives a call or email from the bank, informing the victim that the counterfeit check deposited did not clear, causing the account to become overdrawn.

Tips to Avoid Fake Check Scams

Here are tips to avoid check scams:

  • Confirm before you withdraw cash:
    A check can take several days to clear, and, until then, you are responsible for any funds withdrawn against it. To make sure the check cleared, call your bank.
  • Be wary of checks received from unknown individuals:
    When selling to someone you don't know, it is safer to accept PayPal, cash or credit card payments.
  • Do not accept overpayments:
    When selling on Craigslist or similar sites, don't take more than the sales price, no matter what convincing story the buyer tells you.
  • Check your online bank statements frequently:
    Don't wait for monthly statements. If you see something you don't recognize, call your financial institution immediately.

Additional Information

Read more about check scams and banking apps on National Consumers League's Fraud.

Tips for avoiding other common fraud schemes can be located on the Federal Bureau of Investigation website.

You can report criminal activity at the FBI online Tips and Public Leads form.