FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- Fake-check fraud is on the rise and the Better Business Bureau wants you to take a second look at unexpected checks so you don't get scammed.
"If it's too good to be true, it really is. You're not going to get money for nothing, " said BBB Serving Northern Indiana President Marjorie Stephens.
Last year there were over 500,000 victims of fake checks. Scammers send a check to a person, the victim cashes the check and sends the money back to the scammers. The check then bounces.
"A lot of these fraudsters are selling products online doing anything they can, job opportunities or puppy scams. There's all kinds of different scams out there, " said Stephens.
Other examples include employment scams, and prize and sweepstakes fraud.If you weren't expecting the money, don't take it.
People in their 20's and 50's are the most likely to fall victim of the scam, so don't think it can't happen to you. One Columbia City man says he recently got a suspicious check in the mail.
"I was hoping it was a blessing of some sort but I was skeptical because of the incident, I opened it," said Micah Moncrief.
Moncrief lost thousands of dollars a few years back as a result of a Nigerian scam, which is where a majority of the scams are from.
"They sent a money order and it was fake so we had to pay that back so that came to mind of course at first," said Moncrief.
Scammers, especially those overseas are usually not caught and the victim is the one responsible for paying back the money lost.
"Definitely have it check out before cashing it. You're going to incur a fee and you're going to have to pay it right back so it's better to not get your hopes up," said Moncrief.
The check he got also didn't have a return address on it. He promptly reported it to the Better Business Bureau.
"As you can see this looks as real as can be. It is real, and they realized the account is closed and you're not really deserving of it," said Moncrief.
A few ways to spot a fake check:
1.The company name could be misspelled
2. The routing and check numbers at the top may not match the bottom
3. Lottery winnings it won't be from a company, it will be from the state lottery commission
If you've deposited a fake check into your account, notify your bank and file a complain with the Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, or your local authorities.