Counterfeit check and money order scams dupe individuals selling items through Internet classified ads or online sales. The buyer sends the seller a cashier’s check or money order that exceeds the purchase amount — sometimes by thousands of dollars — saying the excess amount is to be used to pay shipping or other related costs.
Be wary of any purchasers proposing to conduct transactions this way! Be especially suspicious of those coming from outside the U.S. Take steps to ensure that a check has fully cleared before doing anything with the funds.
Warning signs to look out for:
In person: Scammers befriend you and ask you to cash a check or money order as a favor.
Buyers from classified ads, eBay, or other online advertising: They want to buy something that you are selling and send a check or money order for more than you're asking. You are asked to send the extra to pay for a delivery or some other service.
New Business: They hire you to work at home and ask you to deposit checks or money orders in your account as part of your job. Sometimes they have you open a new account for the "business", but you're still responsible for any checks that you deposit.
Lottery: They tell you you won a lottery, sweepstakes or inheritance and send you a check or money order as an "advance" on the millions that you're going to receive, to use them to "pay taxes," delivery or other fees.
Foreign Business:They offer you a foreign business deal and send you a check or money order as an advance on your profits.