New variation of fake check scam targets law practices
Monday, December 06, 2010
Attorney General Roy Cooper is warning the legal community to be on the lookout for counterfeit check scams after law firms in Gastonia and Oxford recently reported receiving phony checks for $85,000 and $295,000 from scammers who asked them to wire the money to bank accounts in Asia.
This latest version of the fraudulent check scam usually begins with an email from someone who claims to be an American living overseas. The sender claims to need legal help with a family problem (such as a dispute over child support), and says that their ex-spouse lives near the attorney’s practice. The scammer sends a check and asks the attorney to deposit it, keep a portion of the funds to cover the cost of representing them in court, and send the rest of the money back. The fake checks look very real, even to banks, but ultimately turn out to be counterfeit—meaning that the law firm would be on the hook for any money it sends overseas.
We continue to get reports daily from North Carolina consumers who are the targets of other types of counterfeit check scams
. Scammers may offer to pay you to cash their checks and send them the money. Or they may “accidentally” overpay for an item you’re offering to sell online and then ask you to send back the extra money.
No matter how real a check looks, no matter how legitimate the situation may seem, never cash a check and then send a portion of the money back to the person who sent you the check. If someone asks you to do this, it’s a scam. Don’t fall for it.
Report fake check scams to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a consumer complaint
online at www.ncdoj.gov.