Check Fraud: Identify and Avoid

Printing checks is as easy as 1,2,3.

  1. You need the account number.
  2. Your need the routing number.
  3. Costco website.

It’s amazing how easy it is to order checks and anyone can do it, especially the scammers. One popular way scammers get their victims is through job sites like Craigslist or even Zip Recruiter. Don’t get me wrong, I really Craigslist. It’s a great classified ads system. However, if you are new to it and not familiar with scams, always double check.

I’ve actually gone as far as receiving a check from a scammer during my job searches a few years back is when scammers post a job posting for your dream job. A work from home type job that pays $500 per week for 3 days work. Who does not want that?! Well, be careful, it’s a scam.

The scammer will “hire” you then send you a check to deposit into your account along with detailed instructions on how to disburse the funds. Finally, he or she will tell you to take $500 of it as your weeks pay.

The thing is, that check you received is a fraudulent check. It WILL clear into your account. No doubt about it. So let’s say the check is for $3,000. The scammer will tell you to send $500 to person A, then $1,000 to person B and $1,000 to person C and take the $500 for yourself.

A few days later you will be notified by your bank that the check got returned on the basis it is a fraud. You have a police matter to deal with and stuck with losing all the money you sent to persons A,B and C.

Not only have I received a check before and luckily did not follow through with depositing it, I worked with a company where I picked up three checks going through our account that were fraudulent. Within the day, we got back the money and the bank had high risk note on our account.

Obtaining account and routing numbers is pretty easy. Every day we pay vendors with checks. An employee from the vendor company can take a copy of your routing and account numbers then sell it.

So you might ask yourself, how do you avoid check frauds?

Police (check) your account daily or twice daily even. The banks will not do this for you.

Use services like It costs about $60 per month if you have one user but it’s worth the price.

As an individual, get familiar with different types of scams. Scams and scammers are real. It’s big business. If you receive an email that makes an offer too good to be true, it probably is.

Always ask for a physical meeting at a persons place of business.

If you lost money to scammers, don’t keep it to yourself. Share the story. Other people will learn from it.