The counterfeit cashier's check scheme targets individuals that use Internet
classified advertisements to sell merchandise. Typically, an interested party
located outside the United States contacts a seller.
The seller is told that the buyer has an associate in the United States that owes him money. As such,
he will have the associate send the seller a cashier's check for the amount
owed to the buyer.
The amount of the cashier's check will be thousands of dollars more than the
price of the merchandise and the seller is told the excess amount will be used
to pay the shipping costs associated with getting the merchandise to his
location. The seller is instructed to deposit the check, and as soon as it
clears, to wire the excess funds back to the buyer or to another associate
identified as a shipping agent. In most instances, the money is sent to
locations in West Africa (Nigeria).
Because a cashier's check is used, a bank will typically release the funds
immediately, or after a one or two day hold. Falsely believing the check has
cleared, the seller wires the money as instructed.
In some cases, the buyer is able to convince the seller that some
circumstance has arisen that necessitates the cancellation of the sale, and is
successful in conning the victim into sending the remainder of the money.
Shortly thereafter, the victim's bank notifies him that the check was
fraudulent, and the bank is holding the victim responsible for the full amount
of the check.
If you believe you may have fallen victim to this type of scam and wish to report it, please file a complaint with Internet Crime Complaint Center
Source: Internet Crime Complaint Center http://www.ic3.gov/crimeschemes.aspx#item-3
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) was established as a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) to
serve as a means to receive Internet related criminal complaints and to further research,
develop, and refer the criminal complaints to federal, state, local, or international law
enforcement and/or regulatory agencies for any investigation they deem to be appropriate.
The IC3 was intended, and continues to emphasize, serving the broader law enforcement
community to include federal, as well as state, local, and international agencies, which are
combating Internet crime and, in many cases, participating in Cyber Crime Task Forces.