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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > October 2011 > Is that check real? Or a scam?

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Is that check real? Or a scam?


If you receive an unexpected check or money order that looks real — beware. It probably is a fake check scam.

How can you tell? Here’s one certain sign: It will direct you to deposit the check into your account and send money in return, keeping a nice “bonus” for yourself.

Everything may look and sound legitimate, but as the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The check is most likely phony and you will lose money.

Signs of a fake check scam include:

  • You’re informed that you’ve won a foreign lottery and are asked to cash a check and send money to cover taxes or fees.
  • A work-at-home opportunity involves cashing a check, keeping some money and wire transferring the rest.
  • You’re told you’ve been overpaid for an item you sold on the Internet and should return the extra money by wire transfer.
  • Someone e-mails you and seeks a favor, asking you to cash their check and wire transfer them the money.

Remember: never wire transfer money to a stranger.

Report a scam to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office or by calling 800-282-0515.