So by now everyone reading this has heard about the check scam that lures victims by telling them they can earn hundreds of dollars for an hour or so of work. All they have to do is cash a check for a couple thousand dollars (generously provided by the scammer), keep a few hundred for their time, and wire the rest to another person (often in Canada, but they could be anywhere).
The scam? Sometime after the money has been sent off by the victim and claimed by the scammer, the check is discovered to the a forgery. The victim’s bank demands that they pay back all of the money, plus fees for the returned check and any checks the victim has now bounced because their account was debited for the amount of the bogus check.
We refer to mystery shopper scams, but in fact this is a check/wire transfer scam.
Mystery shopping is just one of many disguises used by the scammers. One version involves the scammer buying something through eBay or CraigsList, then sending a check for thousands more than the purchase price and asking the seller to wire the difference back to them. Scam.
Now the scammers are targeting lawyers. According to a story in the ABA Journal, two Hawaiian law firms were swindled out of half a million dollars with this same scam. A “client” retained them, then sent a huge overpayment and asked them to wire back the difference. Same song, new verse.
Folks, the bottom line on this is: NEVER WIRE MONEY TO SOMEONE YOU DO NOT KNOW. Ever. Even if you think you know them, even if they claim to be giving you money or a job, or buying something from you. Even if they claim they are a friend of your grandson, and he needs the money to get out of jail. (Another common variation on this scam.) Even if anything.
Once more: NEVER WIRE MONEY TO SOMEONE YOU DO NOT KNOW. It is always a scam. In every case. Always.