Consumer– Fast Facts

1.  Fake checks are the number one reported fraud. (NCL Fraud Center)
2.  Never agree to pay money to claim a prize. (NCL Fraud Center)
3.  Americans who fall victim to fake check scams lose an average of $3000 to $4000 each. (
4.   In a recent telephone survey 30% of adults said they had been approached with some type of fake check scam. (CFA)
5.  Federal law requires financial institutions to give consumers access to money from checks or money orders they deposit within 1 to 5 business days.
6.   Just because your bank makes money from a check or money order available does NOT mean the check or money order is good. It may still be a fake.
7.  Most consumers believe that banks confirm that a check or money order is good before allowing them to withdraw the money. This belief is wrong!
8.  Once a money transfer is sent, the name of the receiver cannot be changed.
9.   Using a wire money transfer service is not a recommended way to pay for online auction purchases. This may be a sign of fraud.
10.  Never cash a check sent to you in advance of a “mystery shopping” assignment – that is a sure sign of a scam.
11. A wire money transfer is a fast and reliable way to move money nationwide and worldwide. (WU)
12. When an email provides a Web link it should start with “https.” The “s” indicates the link usually is secure. Remember scammers can create secure Web sites too, so verify the site before you complete a transaction.
13. Listen to your instincts, if you are feeling uncomfortable about a financial transaction, the deal could be a fraud.
14.  When selling online use online payment systems or escrow accounts instead of accepting a check from the buyer.
15. Presenting a counterfeit or forged check to be cashed may result in your arrest.
16. You can be arrested for spending stolen money that has been wired into your bank account, even if you do not know it is stolen money.
17.  Wise words—Do not respond to spam. Do not follow links in spam. Do not pursue job offers that arrive via spam. Delete spam.
18. Banks, credit unions, and check cashing services accept checks and money orders based on your identification. They don’t have any information about the source. They use the information they have on you, their customer, and expect that you have information about the source of the check you are cashing.
19. Never open a file that a scammer sends you that could be potentially malicious. Only open files that are in the following formats: .gif .jpeg .jpg .bmp .png .tiff .tga. If the extension is something else, such as an .exe or .scr, do not open it because it could be a virus!
21. “Guy” or “guyman” is a common way 419-scammers refer to one another.  “Mugu” or “fool” is how they refer to their victims.
22. Some things never change. The Spanish Prisoner Con, which can be traced back as far as 1588, is the “grandfather” of the 419 scam.
23. “Assume that the spammer is a crook who wants to fleece you six ways to Sunday. You’ll be much, much safer that way.”
24. Internet Auction Fraud is the number one Internet Fraud reported to the FBI.  This includes non-delivered merchandise, merchandise not being paid for, check fraud, and credit card fraud.
25. According to the IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center) men who were the victims of fraud lost more money than women did in Internet scams in 2007 (ratio of $1.67 to every $1.00 lost per female).