People who answered work-at-home want ads on Craigslist were caught up in the scheme. One woman was asked to send out fake checks on behalf of the scammers and was paid by Western Union. When she noticed the Western Union payment was in someone else’s name, she called the real ad agency and asked, “Am I working for you?” The answer was “no.”
She had already sent out 200 bogus checks.
According to the ad agency, the scammers somehow intercepted a check that was sent to a client. They knew something was wrong when someone tried to cash it in another state. Scammers “washed” the check and used it as a template for numerous fake checks in the ad agency’s name.
Which brings up some important tips for businesses regarding checks:
- Monitor your accounts payable. Stop payment on the check and send out another one if too much time goes by and the check appears to be “lost.”
- Use tamper resistant checks. Checks with security features make it harder for crooks who may intercept them to counterfeit or alter them.
- Keep track of check orders. Notify your check supplier and bank if you order checks that don’t arrive in a reasonable amount of time.
- Keep checks secured. Keep reserve supplies of checks, deposit slips and other banking documents locked up and limit the number of people who can access them.
- Keep your eye on the ball. Don’t leave checks or other bank records unattended while you serve customers. Someone might take them while you aren’t looking.