The District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) is warning District consumers to be on the alert for counterfeit check scams.
The scam involves counterfeit checks that are printed with the names and addresses of legitimate financial institutions and actual account numbers and routing numbers. The catch, however, is the check won’t be honored by the financial institution listed on the check. If you were to deposit the counterfeit check into your bank account and wire all or part of those funds to another person’s account, you would be responsible for the check – even if you didn’t know it was fake.
Examples of counterfeit check scams are:
- Contest winnings scam that require you to wire funds to an account as payment of the taxes and fees on your winnings;
- Overpayment scam on products you advertise for sale on websites such as Craigslist or EBay. The purchaser sends you a counterfeit check in an amount higher than the actual sale price and asks you to wire them back the difference; or
- Scams by companies that pay you to work from home and overpay you with a counterfeit check asking you to wire them back the difference.
To avoid being a victim of a counterfeit check scam, DISB advises consumers to first contact the bank to verify the check and available funds. Consumers can contact the bank by calling the customer service number or visiting the bank in person.
If you receive a counterfeit check or believe you have been a victim of a financial scam or have questions, please contact the Enforcement and Consumer Protection Division of the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking at 202-727-8000 or disb.dc.gov.