Crime Alert: Check Cashing Scams
ASU Police and Boone Police would like to make the campus community aware of recent reports involving check cashing scams. We caution you to be skeptical of anyone that sends you a check or money order and in turn asks you to deposit it and wire transfer any amount of money back to them. You should never wire money to a stranger. The check you receive will be counterfeit and inevitably you will personally be out the money you wire to them.
This type of fraud is commonly referred to as a “Nigerian check scam”. These individuals use email, postal mail, and telephones to contact potential victims. In any case the check you receive is counterfeit, and will be returned to your bank as unpaid. As a result the full amount you wired will be deducted from your account. You are fully responsible for the loss. An important fact to know is that the Bank is required by Federal law to make deposited funds available within 1-5 business days; however this does not necessarily mean the funds have cleared. It could take weeks before the check is discovered to be counterfeit.
Tips to avoid a counterfeit check scam:
- Never wire money to strangers. If anyone insists that you wire back funds, end the transaction immediately. Legitimate buyers don't pressure you to send money by wire transfer services. In addition, you have little recourse if there's a problem with a wire transaction.
- If you're selling something, don't accept a check for more than the selling price, no matter how tempting the offer or how convincing the story. Use an alternative way to pay, like an escrow service or online payment service. If this is not an option require the buyer to send a bank certified cashier’s check or money order for the exact amount.
- Any correspondence which offers you money but requests that you pay a fee first.
- Any correspondence that offers you a check and requests that you take a percentage and then use Western Union to send the remaining money somewhere else. The use of Western Union is common in these scams and should be a red flag.
If it sounds too good to be true- it probably is. Any promises of large sums of money in any context by unknown people online, through mail, by phone, or otherwise should be carefully scrutinized.
If you have information about a crime we ask that you contact the ASU Police Department at (828) 262-2150 or Crimestoppers at (828) 268-6959. If your information leads to an arrest, you may be eligible for a reward up to $1000.00.
You may also report crimes anonymously at http://police.appstate.edu/crime-tip-submission-form