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Counterfeit Checks & Online Sales

Featured Image
A close up of the routing number at the bottom of a check.

This scam dupes individuals selling items through Internet classified ads or online sales.

The buyer sends the seller a cashier’s check or money order that exceeds the purchase amount—sometimes by thousands of dollars—saying the excess amount is to be used to pay shipping or other related costs.

The seller is instructed to deposit the check and return to the buyer the unused portion in the form of a money order, cashier’s check or wire transfer. In some cases the buyer is able to convince the seller that some circumstances have arisen where he or she needs to cancel the sale, and is successful in conning the victim into sending the rest of the money.

Shortly after the money is sent to the buyer, the seller's bank notifies the victim that the check was fraudulent and the bank is holding the victim responsible for the full amount of the check.

Be wary of any purchasers proposing to conduct transactions this way! Be especially suspicious of those coming from outside the U.S.

Take steps to ensure that a check has fully cleared before doing anything with the funds.

If you have any questions or if we can help you in any way, please contact Member Services at 804-323-6800 or 800-285-6609.