Counterfeit Checks

How to Avoid Being Scammed

  1. Think about it. There is no legitimate reason why anyone would give you a check or money order and ask you to send cash anywhere in return.
  2. Be aware that just because you can get the cash quickly doesn’t mean the check or money order is good. Fake checks can take weeks to discover.
  3. Only cash a check or money order for a close relative or someone you’ve met in person and known for a long time, since you’ll be responsible if it’s phony.

Scheme Information

Counterfeit Checks

Counterfeit Checks

There are an increasing amount of scams involving counterfeit checks and money orders. Learn how to avoid being taken in by scam artists.


Counterfeit Checks

The scam artist will send you a check for more than what they owe and ask you to cash it, separate a portion, and ask you to immediately wire the balance of the remaining funds back to them.


Counterfeit Checks

By the time the bank realizes that the first check is fake, the con men have received the money via the wire transfer and you are left holding the bag.


There are an increasing number of scams today where criminals use counterfeit financial instruments, including checks and money orders, as part of the scheme. Many are mass-marketing schemes, including overpayment, lottery, and employment fraud. Scammers use sophisticated software, commercial laser printers and scanners, and blank check stock to produce the fake checks and money orders. The counterfeit documents lack security features, but many are close enough to look legitimate and fool unwitting consumers and bank personnel.

Consumers often believe, incorrectly, that postal money orders and cashier's checks are "good" if they're cashed by a bank and are not subject to recourse. This is not true. You can always tell if a postal money order is real. Watermarks of Benjamin Franklin, visible when held to the light, run through the white oval on the left front side of the money order. Counterfeit ones can’t duplicate a watermark. Also a dark security thread runs from top to bottom to the right of the Franklin watermark. Verify those security features to make sure you don’t get scammed.