Internet Scams Exposed

SCAM WATCH: Internet & SMS Scams - Phishing - Email Fraud

These emails and text messages are real examples of current scams. Learn to identify them. Please forward any scams you receive to Mark Hutten: They will be posted on this site without your email address.

What To Do If You Have Been Scammed

Have you lost money due to a scam?

Email: with a description of how the scam worked (i.e., what happened exactly), and we will try to (a) locate the scam artist(s), (b) work with law enforcement to expedite prosecution, and (c) help you get some - or all - of your money back.


Cash the Check System

Cash the check system—

Defrauders negotiate large purchases with the victim (e.g. ordering $50,000 to $200,000 worth of goods) agreeing to an advance payment via bank wire transfer. After ordering, the fraudster claims that paying via wire transfer is impractical, and instead sends a counterfeit check drawn on the account of a real, uninvolved organization as an alternate payment. After the check clears, the victim company ships the goods. When the uninvolved organization notices the fraudulent transaction against their account, they request a chargeback, resulting in the victim losing both the money and the goods.

In some cases, thieves learn the address of a merchant's bank, and send counterfeit checks directly to the bank. They then claim a direct deposit was made after the check is deposited by bank staff, hoping the victim will only notice the apparently available funds, and not the fact that it was a check deposit that the bank has not yet fully cleared.

In other cases, defrauders negotiate smaller transactions (e.g. ordering $2,000 to $10,000 worth of goods) with fraudulent checks written for more than the purchase amount, and instruct the merchant to refund "excess" amounts via Western Union money transfer to an account in another country.

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