PHOENIX — For some impacted by the pandemic, getting an unexpected check in the mail could be the relief they are hoping for. However, it's all a scam and could leave you owing a lot of money.
Ben tells ABC15 he was just looking to make room for his new furniture by selling an old couch on OfferUp. Instead, he fell victim to a new spin on a well-known check scam.
"He sent me a check for $1,690 and said that $1,390 would be for the mover's fee. Then the $300 would be for the couch," said Ben.
Ben says he deposited the check through his bank's mobile app and once the money was posted later that day, he sent $1,300 to the so-called movers through Zelle. The next day the money was taken back out of the account, and he was out the money he sent.
"They had said that the check was a counterfeit check," said Ben.
Ben reported the fraud to his bank, but they say there is nothing they can do. The money is gone and he should have known better than to cash a check from someone he didn't know.
However, Ben asks, why didn't the bank know it was a fake as soon as he cashed it?
"A lot of times the bad guys, they'll use a genuine account number, and a genuine routing number," said Frank Boudreaux Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Secret Service Field Office.
He says a fake check scam often has many layers of scams involved including identity theft. Scammers take real banking information to create a fake check.
"It's not until the victim company, you know, sees it or just some type of audit," said Frank Boudreaux Jr.
So, it takes several steps to create the fake check and several steps to catch it.