5 on Your Side

You did NOT WIN! Respond, and you WILL LOSE!

Posted May 12, 2010 4:52 p.m. EDT

We've been warning you about what are called "cashier's check scams" for YEARS-- but we still receive letters and e-mails every day from people believing the offer or notice THEY received is legit-- but just wanting to double check!
The scam has a number of variations-- most involve internet ads for products, services, real estate, etc, or supposed lottery winnings. But they all have the same bottom line: the scammers want your money. They try to get it by sending you a CASHIER'S CHECK. If its in response to an internet ad where you are selling something, the scammers will send the check for an amount greater than the asking price-- often to cover "shipping fees." If it involves supposed LOTTERY winnings, the scammers claim the check is part of your winnings sent to cover "insurance", "processing fees" or even "taxes". The list of creative reasons for the check goes on and on. But they all end pretty much the same way: the scammers tell you to deposit the check and wire the fees to their bogus company. Days, even weeks later-- you learn the truth: The bank finds out the check was bogus and takes the money back out of your account. But the money you wired is already gone for good! There's NO WAY to get it back! So keep in mind, if you REALLY WIN money-- the contest organizer will just send you a check in the mail-- no strings attached. Uncle Sam will collect his part at tax time! So stay away from ANY sales or "winnings" that involve over-payments, wire transfers, shipping fees, and/or cashier's checks--whether through the internet or snail mail! We'd all like to believe that we're finally a "winner" or that we've negotiated a great deal on whatever we're selling, buying or renting. But fall for a cashier's check scam and you will only LOSE!

About this Blog:

In addition to the stories you see on TV, Monica is always looking for ways to help consumers find deals and avoid fraud. She'll blog about what you need to know here.