Ever since my last blog on check-cashing job offers that are really check fraud scams, I've been getting interesting emails from victims. In essence, they're saying "Help! I've cashed one of those checks. Now what?"
In the case of Al, who's been writing me since Friday, he at least didn't send any money to the scammers. But now he wants to know what to do with the $5,000 sitting in his account.
Doooon't spend it, whatever you do. Even if it's past the five-day clear date and still sitting there, the banks will figure out the check's a fraud at some point soon and withdraw the funds.
Al says he's already contacted the FBI and filed a complaint at its Computer Crime Complaint Center. "Should I also report it to the local police before going to the bank? Please advice (sic). As I said, I'm embarased (sic) and nervous about going to the bank," he then wrote.
Al, bite the bullet and call the fraud department listed for your bank. Be ready with all information related to the check, better if you kept a copy. In addition, have all emails between you and the criminal who recruited you on hand in case they need them. You should have a phone number in your caller ID since you said the recruiter called you when they didn't receive the cash. (Hmm, which makes me wonder, will the check stay in limbo then until some trigger is set, like the criminals receiving the cash?)
Do something extra nice and forward the evidence to CareerBuilders, where you say you posted your resume that got the fraud offer hit. It'll help them tweak their filters to protect other members from this particular scammer. And, remember, in all aspects of life, there is no such thing as easy money.
Another reader who'd fallen for the same scam couldn't seem to get that one through his head. After losing $2,000 on a first check, he accepted two more from another scammer who he thought was a famous scientist. Then he deposited them in his niece's account as a 'gift' (read: 'to avoid detection').
"I ended up doing six months in jail and want to know what my legal recource (sic) is," he wrote.
Don't think you have any, dude. You shoulda sniffed the stink the first time around, like Al did. And even after getting burned, you did it again, this time trying to cover your tracks by implicating your niece. You're lucky you only got six months, if you ask me.