Cashing bogus checks can cost victims big time


Some words of advice that may be hard to do:  If a check for a large amount of money arrives in the mail from someone you don't know, rip it up.  If you cash it, it could cost you big time.

"He sent me a check for $50,000," explained fraud victim, Taylor Campbell.

Campbell is talking about the person she met online, who claimed he was stranded in Africa.

"He wanted me to send him a portion… and send it to him as soon as possible so he could get home to the states and take care of his Dad," she said.

But her online friend left out a crucial piece of information.

Campbell said, "It was a fraudulent check."

"They mail you a counterfeit check, you deposit the check, you wire the funds and you're out the money," warned US Postal Inspector Renee Focht.

Banking regulations require banks to release funds before a check clears.  But once the bank realizes the check is fake, the victim is responsible.

"When you receive a check and sign the back of it, you're endorsing the check; you're saying that check is good," said Focht.

Campbell's advice, "Don't be so trusting of who you meet online. That's the number one thing."

"If you receive a check from an unknown source, don't deposit the check, don't wire the funds, don't become a victim," said Focht.

Experts add, there is no legitimate reason for someone to give you a check and then ask you to wire the money somewhere else.  It just doesn't make sense.