If you come across a job offer or money-making scheme that involves a check being sent in advance, watch out. If you are not careful, you could get taken by a fake check scheme.
In the last few months, there have been a number of people who report getting a bogus check with instructions to deposit it, keep a portion for their efforts, and then wire funds to cover job-related costs. These checks look very real, and some banks have cashed them. But, quite often, it is not until after the consumer has wired funds that they learn the check was bad, and they are on the hook for reimbursing the bank.
Some of these job offers and money-making opportunities involved having a personal car wrapped with advertising for a major company, mystery shopping, or schemes that involve shipping and receiving packages. In some cases, consumers were told to purchase iTunes cards and provide a scammer with numbers from the card.
If you come across one of these offers or receive an unusual check, do not cash it or pursue the offer further until you do your homework. If you suspect a scam, report it to consumer agencies. If you get scammed, alert your bank and authorities. Although it may be difficult to get your money back, your information could help track down these scammers and help others from falling victim in the future.