Fake checks might look like legitimate business or personal checks, cashier’s checks, money orders, or electronic check. They continue to be one of the most common instruments used to commit fraud against consumers.

Fake bank checks are typically used in scams where the fraudster tries to get you to cash or deposit the check. Once it is deposited, they ask that you send all or part of the proceeds back to them or to someone else (an accomplice) before the bank where it was deposited clears or processes the check for payment and realizes the instrument is fake.

Know the Common Fake Check Scams:

It is important to remember, the key to these scams is that you’re asked to act quickly, deposit a fake check, and send back a portion of the funds before your bank can spot the fraud.

Here are examples:

Overpayment Scam: Someone sends you a fraudulent check for a product or service, but the amount is higher than the price you agreed upon. You’re asked to return the “overpayment.”

Sold Goods: A buyer in a different country pays for the goods you are selling and asks you to ship them. The check never clears and you are left to foot the bill. This is one of the most common types of check fraud scams.

Lottery or Sweepstakes Scam: Scammers say you’ve won prize money. They send a fake check and ask for a partial payment in return, claiming it's for processing fees, taxes, or another phony reason.

If you receive a check related to a deal that seems too good to be true, trust your instincts. Be skeptical, don’t deposit the check, and verify that it’s real before taking any action. If you are ever unsure about a check you’ve received, bring it to your local Bank of Hope branch and let us assist you.

How to Avoid a Fake Check Scam:

  • Never use money from a check to send gift cards, money orders, cryptocurrency, or to wire money to anyone who asks you to. Many scammers demand that you buy gift cards and send them the PIN numbers, buy cryptocurrency and transfer it to them, or send money through wire transfer services. Once you do, it’s like you’ve given them cash. It’s almost impossible to get it back.
  • Toss offers that ask you to pay for a prize. If it’s free, you shouldn't have to pay to get it. Only scammers will ask you to pay to collect a "free" prize.
  • Don't accept a check for more than the selling price.

If you believe you are a victim of a fraudulent check scam, please contact our Customer Contact Center at 1-855-325-2226.

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