When conducting the sale of any item, including hay, cattle and farm equipment, care should be taken when accepting checks for payment, including cashier’s checks. A popular scheme among thieves is to offer a check for over the item’s agreed price and ask the seller to cash the check to pay a driver. Or a check is drawn from an unfamiliar bank or there are other excuses and stipulations to the sale that don’t sound right. When in doubt, ask your local bank if a check is valid or call your TSCRA Special Ranger.
The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Consumer offers the below information on avoiding cashier’s check fraud. CLICK OR TAP HERE for more information.
Tips for Avoiding Cashier’s Check Fraud
- Try to know the people with whom you do business. When possible, verify information about the buyer from an independent third party such as a telephone directory. Be cautious about accepting checks—even a cashier’s check—from people that you do not know, especially since it may be difficult to pursue a remedy if the transaction goes wrong.
- When you use the Internet to sell goods or services, consider other options such as escrow services or online payment systems rather than payment by a cashier’s check.
- If you do accept a cashier’s check for payment, never accept a check for more than your selling price if you are expected to pay the excess to someone else. Ask yourself why the buyer would be willing to trust you, who may be a perfect stranger, with funds that properly belong to a third party.
- A cashier’s check is less risky than other types of checks only if the item is genuine. If you can, ask for a cashier’s check drawn on a bank with a branch in your area.
- If you want to find out whether a check is genuine, call or visit the bank on which the check is written. That bank will be in a better position to tell you whether the check is one they issued and is genuine.
- Know the difference between funds being available for withdrawal from your account and a check having finally cleared. Your bank may be required by law to make funds available to you even if the check has not yet cleared. However, it could take several weeks to know if the check will clear or not.
Act with Caution
- Be wary of taking action before you can be sure that the payment you received is good.
- Be suspicious if someone insists that you send funds by wire transfer or otherwise pressures you to act quickly before you know the payment you received is good.
- Save your documents—you may need this paperwork if something goes wrong.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center offers the following tips to spot counterfeit checks:
- Inspect the cashier’s check.
- Ensure the amount of the check matches in figures and words.
- Check to see that the account number is not shiny in appearance.
- Be watchful that the drawer’s signature is not traced.
- Official checks are generally perforated on at least one side.
- Inspect the check for additions, deletions, or other alterations.
- Contact the financial institution on which the check was drawn to ensure legitimacy.
- Obtain the bank’s telephone number from a reliable source, not from the check itself.
- Be cautious when dealing with individuals outside of your own country.
For more information and tips, visit https://www.ic3.gov/preventiontips.aspx#item-2.