Scam Buster: Can You Tell A Fake Check From A Real One?

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Peggy Enfinger is extremely wary of scammers and fake checks—you could say she was wary to a fault.

“And I’ve even gotten a check from Publisher’s Clearing House and tore it up! And found out that it was real! It was only for ten dollars!” says Enfinger.

So when she got this check in the mail, supposedly to pay taxes on her lottery winnings, she called us.

“I try not to be fooled by all these scams that are going on these days,” says Enfinger.

Enfinger is a nurse at Mobile Infirmary and cares for her 92-year-old mother-in-law, so her concern is for the elderly falling for the scam.

“Do you think that’s a real check? Looks like a real check to me. I really can’t tell. Hm, that’s scary isn’t it. Pretty scary. That’s terrible!”

Scammers have gotten so good at faking these fake checks, there’s really no way to tell just look at it and know that it’s fake. They can fool anybody, including the bank tellers.

“The routing number and the account numbers are real. And they belong to a real person or a real business, that’s why they can go through the bank and that’s why so many people get scammed like this,” says Detective Laura Soulier with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office.

The bank has to cover the amount of the check, so when the check doesn’t clear, then you could be on the line for thousands and possibly do jail time.

“Because they’re passing a counterfeit instrument. And we realize, the courts realize, that they are victims themselves and they’re going to have to pay their bank back,” says Soulier.

Bottom line, whenever someone sends you a check that you didn’t ask for, or you didn’t enter a drawing for, just put it in the shredder. If you don’t have one, get one because these checks and letters can have your personal information on them.

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