Counterfeit Cashier's Checks
Here's how it starts - Just run an ad in any one of the online classifieds and you can reach an audience of thousands. The buyer will contact you by e-mail or phone and offer to buy what you are selling, usually no questions asked, sight unseen. Your item will be picked up on behalf of the so-called buyer by someone in your local area. You will be given a check as payment higher than the asking price of the item. The so-called buyer instructs you to go ahead and cash the check and send him/her the difference.
Where do these checks come from? The checks can arrive from any country, state or city. The check forging rings are so widespread that members can be found just about anywhere. They stay in a place long enough to ensure the forged checks arrive at their destinations. Most communication from the phony buyer is received via e-mail, cell phone and satellite phone.
What happens when you negotiate the check? - Following the buyer's request, you deposit the check into your account. If you have received a Cashier's Check or have an excellent credit record with your bank, the check will be credited to your account without delay. You then immediately arrange for the excess funds to be wired to the bank account number the buyer has supplied to you for that purpose. Your bank sends the funds out either that day or the following morning. Shortly thereafter you receive a call from the bank stating that the funds are no good.
Who ends up paying the price? - In most instances, you are going to have to pay for the loss. That means you will have to make up for the amount that you wired - plus any of the money you spent. In rare instances, the bank will absorb the loss, but don't count on it. The reason for this is that when you endorse a check, you are vouching for the validity of that check.
NO legitimate business transaction asks you to wire excess funds anywhere. It's simply not done for the basic reason that no legitimate business person is about to trust an absolute stranger with their money.