Phony-Check Warning: It’s a Scam!

by Chris Bjorklund

Phony-check scams have become so widespread that consumer groups are using a new website to issue alerts and explain how the schemes work. The National Consumers League, in cooperation with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and others, has launched You’ll find examples of the phony checks, video from victims and frequently asked questions.

The shocking thing is that the average loss for phony-check scam victims is between $3,000 and $4,000. The scam starts with a real-looking unsolicited check that comes through the mail. The letter describes an opportunity to take advantage of a foreign business offer, a foreign lottery or sweepstakes, or to cash in on a rental or work-at-home scheme. Usually, the scammers ask you to mail cash in return for the phony check. Go to the site and take the fraud test anytime you get one of these offers. One mouse-click could save you thousands.