Overpayment scam alert / Fake check
Thread poster: khaf
khaf
United States
Local time: 01:20
English to French
+ ...
Jun 18, 2014

For any member who may be unaware of fake check scams.

Someone contacts you for a translation (or any) project. You both agree on a fee, then they send you a check for much more than the agreed upon fee. The check is usually from someone other than the person who have been dealing with (they'll give you an excuse as to why). These scammers expect you to deposit the check and send them a refund for the excess amount. So in the time it takes your bank to discover that the check is fake or has been stopped or that the funds are not available, you may have lost that money you sent as a refund. Thankfully, I did not issue a refund because I had called my bank and was told that the check was rejected by the originator's bank.


Beware of these scammers!
1. Contact the police or your local FBI office with any check you receive that you suspect might be fake and correspondence that you've exchanged with the scammer.
2. Insist on having an exact amount on a check, nothing more, nothing less.
3. Do not issue a refund in less than 10 business days after receiving a check, and call your bank to make sure the check was honored by the check originator's institution.
4. Immediately block any email you suspect is from a scammer.

I have had contacts from the following (most likely fake names, emails and mailing addresses, but here they are for what they are worth):

John Bertrand - jjohn.betrand@gmail.com - 562 E 6th St Azusa, CA 91702
Wayne Cole - waynecole1984@gmail.com - 352 E Ellis Ave, Inglewood, CA 90302 - (424) 261-3509


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:20
English to German
+ ...
Fake addresses Jun 18, 2014

khaf wrote:
I have had contacts from the following (most likely fake names, emails and mailing addresses, but here they are for what they are worth):

John Bertrand - jjohn.betrand@gmail.com - 562 E 6th St Azusa, CA 91702
Wayne Cole - waynecole1984@gmail.com - 352 E Ellis Ave, Inglewood, CA 90302 - (424) 261-3509



I am so sorry that you lost all the time spent on translation.

However, a quick Google check before starting any work would have shown that those addresses don't exist.

Or was the check an advance payment?


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khaf
United States
Local time: 01:20
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thankfully I requested advance payment, so no lost time :) Jun 19, 2014

Hi Nicole,

Thanks for the sympathy.

I didn't lose any time translating since I required advance payment. A few things were inconsistent from the beginning, such as time zone emails were sent from (East coast) and addresses (CA). The check is sent from a person or company with an address in a different city from where the check is mailed from and both addresses are different from the one provided by your contact.

Good point on a Google search on addresses. Although, it has happened that some new developments are not yet found through Google searches.


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dreeab  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
New scammer name Jul 5, 2016

I just received an email from someone listing that same contact phone number with a fishy looking email requesting translation of two documents at a rate that is way above the average standard, to be paid for by a "sponsor". Sharing the information below. I found this post when I googled the phone number.
Terri Adam
630 Gramatan Ave 4W,
Mt Vernon, NY,10552
United States
(424) 261-3509


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:20
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Rather... Jul 6, 2016

khaf wrote:
3. Do not issue a refund in less than 10 business days after receiving a check, and call your bank to make sure the check was honored by the check originator's institution.


Rather, I would have thought: do not issue a refund until the cheque has cleared (i.e. until you see the money in your own bank account).

Or... does it not work that way in the USA? Can you actually get the money in your own bank account before the cheque has officially cleared (i.e. do banks habitually "lend" you the value of the cheque before they themselves have actually received the money from the cheque)?


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Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 10:20
Member (2016)
English to German
Check bounce can take weeks Jul 6, 2016

Here in Germany at least, you see the amount of a check quite soon in your bank account, but the check can still bounce even weeks later, in which case not only the amount of the check will be deducted from your account, but additionally you might have to pay a penalty sum to the bank (depending on bank policy).

Asking for some sort of cash return on a check is nearly 100% a scam. And here in Germany, check payments have become extremely rare in the last decades anyway, so anyone offering payment via check is suspicious from the start.


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Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:20
Polish to Czech
+ ...
Checks Jul 6, 2016

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:
And here in Germany, check payments have become extremely rare in the last decades anyway, so anyone offering payment via check is suspicious from the start.


I can say the same about the Czech Republic and Poland. I've always wanted to ask, what are those countries where genuine customers still pay with checks? US perhaps...?

[Edited at 2016-07-06 13:41 GMT]


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Iris Schmerda  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:20
French to German
+ ...
Use of checks is normal in France Jul 6, 2016

"I can say the same about the Czech Republic and Poland. I've always wanted to ask, what are those countries where genuine customers still pay with checks? US perhaps...?"

In France it is totally normal to pay with checks. I use them quite often to pay electricity, side costs of the apartment, dentist etc. or sometimes even in shops.

Sometimes I took on checks as payment for translations I had done -- but only French checks. I would not be willing accept foreign checks.


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Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:20
Polish to Czech
+ ...
More on checks Jul 6, 2016

Iris Schmerda wrote:

In France it is totally normal to pay with checks. I use them quite often to pay electricity, side costs of the apartment, dentist etc. or sometimes even in shops.

Sometimes I took on checks as payment for translations I had done -- but only French checks. I would not be willing accept foreign checks.


Thanks for you answer.
If a check is from the same country, is there also this period when it can bounce? Or does it clear (or not) immediately (thus being safe)?
I know literally nothing about payments by check and would never accept them nor make them myself (too much trouble going to the post), so I'm asking just out of curiosity.
In Germany, the electricity providers and other institutions always send a check with the payment request but I doubt anybody uses them. And it's still big difference with a check payment between 2 private persons (even if not with the foreign ones), which would be completely weird in all 3 countries I lived in (Germany, Poland and the Czech Rep.).


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Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 10:20
Member (2016)
English to German
Checks for utilities? Jul 6, 2016

Katarzyna Slowikova wrote:

In Germany, the electricity providers and other institutions always send a check with the payment request but I doubt anybody uses them.


A check with the utilities bill? I don't think so. To write a check, you need a check form from your own bank, don't you? Where should the electricity company get my check forms from, or even know which bank I use? I think you are mixing this up, what the German electricity company sends you is not a check form, it is a form for a bank transfer. Still being used by people who don't pay online and who don't authorize the company to deduct their bills directly from their bank account.

Insurances are the only institutions in Germany I know of who still regularly pay by check (not their employees, but the people who claim some sort of damage against the insurance). But on the whole, the use of checks in payments in Germany is somewhat like 0.1 % of all payments, so you can say that payment by check is suspicious.


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liviu roth
United States
Local time: 04:20
Romanian to English
+ ...
to answer to your question Jul 6, 2016

If a check is from the same country, is there also this period when it can bounce? Or does it clear (or not) immediately (thus being safe)?
I know literally nothing about payments by check and would never accept them nor make them myself (too much trouble going to the post), so I'm asking just out of curiosity.
In Germany, the electricity providers and other institutions always send a check with the payment request but I doubt anybody uses them. And it's still big difference with a check payment between 2 private persons (even if not with the foreign ones), which would be completely weird in all 3 countries I lived in (Germany, Poland and the Czech Rep.). [/quote]


Yes, there is a period of time until the check clears after you deposit it. Even if it is in the same country. The overpayment scams count on that. The scammers know that it takes 10-14 days to clear, therefore they ask you to send them the rest of the money after you deposit their check.


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Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:20
Polish to Czech
+ ...
Yes, I mixed things up a bit ;) Jul 6, 2016

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:

Katarzyna Slowikova wrote:

In Germany, the electricity providers and other institutions always send a check with the payment request but I doubt anybody uses them.


A check with the utilities bill? I don't think so. To write a check, you need a check form from your own bank, don't you? Where should the electricity company get my check forms from, or even know which bank I use? I think you are mixing this up, what the German electricity company sends you is not a check form, it is a form for a bank transfer. Still being used by people who don't pay online and who don't authorize the company to deduct their bills directly from their bank account.


I've checked now the one I got last time, from ARD, and you're right - it says "SEPA-Überweisung/Zahlschein". So it's basically a form to make a payment in person, at a bank counter. I think I was confused by the colors - the checks I remember (and it's been some years I've last seen one) used to be red on white too. And I really didn't pay attention to notice much more than this, I wouldn't even think about using this thing.
Anyway, maybe people in countries that still use checks are more susceptible to fall from this scam.... still it's the most weird part for me, how can anybody (and not just anybody but a translator - an educated person with, one would think, a decent IQ level) fall for it.


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Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 10:20
Member (2016)
English to German
I'd never say never ... Jul 6, 2016

Katarzyna Slowikova wrote:

Anyway, maybe people in countries that still use checks are more susceptible to fall from this scam.... still it's the most weird part for me, how can anybody (and not just anybody but a translator - an educated person with, one would think, a decent IQ level) fall for it.


I would think so too, but at the same time it is amazing what sort of scams even smart people fall for, so I would never rule out that it could happen to me too. That's why it is so important to be prepared and to make the tricks known to everyone.

As in most cases, the temptation comes with something that is actually a little too good to be true, in this case a nice big job with nice rates. It seems that if you believe something good is happening to you, the reasoning part of your brain can be silenced temporarily


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