What is it?
There are three types of cheque scam: counterfeit, forged and fraudulently altered.
A counterfeit cheque is printed to look exactly like those that are genuine but has been created and written by a criminal for the purposes of committing fraud.
A forged cheque is one that’s been stolen from you and used by a criminal by forging your signature.
A fraudulently altered cheque is genuine but has been altered in some way before being paid in i.e. altering the payee’s name or the amount of the cheque.
How to spot a cheque scam
- You receive a cheque for a greater amount than agreed and are subsequently asked for a refund for the overpayment
- You’re asked for immediate delivery of goods or services before a cheque is cleared through your account
Examples of cheque scams
David sold his car through a classified ad and agreed a price of £5,000 with the buyer. When the cheque for payment came through, it was for £6,000, a greater amount than agreed. The buyer asked John to return the £1,000 difference by bank transfer. Once David had repaid the difference to the buyer, he discovered that the cheque had bounced.
Meena bought a TV through a classified ad and sent the payment by cheque in the post. Her cheque was intercepted by a criminal, and the payee and the amount was altered, before being cashed in by the criminal.
If you believe you’ve fallen for a scam, contact your bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one listed on your statement, their website or on the back of your debit or credit card.