DON’T deposit that check!
It is now 5 times that someone has approached me in some fashion or another with a new employment opportunity. The latest was from a person who sent it to me via email, the check being a pdf. He sent the front and back of it, and asked me to print it out, cut it out to size, sign the back, scan it in and deposit it, all via the deposit function in a mobile bank app. Having already been approached with “funny money” before, I printed the check out, and took the printout to the bank to verify. The cashier said that, given there were no watermarks, the check could not be even verified. I had the instructions for processing sent by the sender, and I read them to her. She said it sounded scammy, and I had to admit, it did. Such was the fifth time. It resulted in enormous disappointment, because it showed the false hand of someone who had posed as a company “looking for a few copywriters. I had applied thru Upwork for this.
Previous to this latest effort at fraud was a more genuine effort arriving via Fedex in a flat envelope, with instructions. It also said to deposit the check in the count and show them my receipt. This was scam #4, so I took the check in for verification at my bank. Their process kept showing up good, the check was legit. I had too much else going on, a trip to take off on for work. I told the sender that whether good or bad, I was shredding the check because I was too busy to do what they were paying me for.
Scam #3 came through a LinkedIn account. Using the name of someone I knew the gamer was talking about all kinds of good stuff to do with the money if I’d let him send me a check to get started. Well, I told him, that he should send the check, but it would go through a “smell test”. I’d submit it for verification, and if it was good, I’d let him know and we’d proceed further. Never heard from him again.
#2 was a check coming in the mail out of nowhere. Sizable as it was, it would fix some financial issues for me. I mentioned this to a banker who said verify, NOT deposit! So I did what he said, I verified and the clerk at the bank said it was bogus. Feed to shredder and move on.
The very first one was in the mail, and I, being new to this trick was about to deposit, but the clerk at the bank said it smelled, and to first have it verified. Scammers are world-class at LOOKING legit, with the bank name, account and routing numbers, etc. Was a big letdown, this first very large check that looked good to me.
In these situations, if I had deposited the check it would give the scammer my account and routing numbers and opened me up to being cleaned out. That wouldn’t take much, really, as I didn’t have much in an account to clean out in the first place. But the whole point is what the scammer would have access to and cause me to start up a new checking account. I don’t know how vulnerable I’d be if I had done what they said and deposited their check.
I share these experiences because they happen all the time, to people everywhere, so some of you may or may not have seen this happen in your life. BE CAREFUL with unsolicited money, give it the smell test, despite appearances, and verify it. I think this is the kind of thing that is killing checks as a payment procedure, but a lot of other methods are being used as well. Fraud is a daily event in this world, so be careful not to get burned. The main directive coming with these things is an order to deposit. DON’T!