Consumers are inundated with mailings about class actions settlements that could bring you money, such as cash back for overpriced tuna fish, or a settlement over moldy front loading washing machines.
Those are very legit, and if you get a check form them, go ahead and cash it.
But how do you know if some other offers of money are real, or if you could be falling for a fake check scam?
We have important information on how to check out a check you received unexpectedly.
African Prince? Yeah, Sure.
By now everyone with a brain knows that a check in the mail from an African Prince wanting to share his fortune is fake.
But today's scammers are more sophisticated: Many bogus checks you receive in the mail look real, right down to the signature and watermark.
Even many bank tellers may not spot the difference.
Their goal is for you to cash it, then send them something. Two weeks letter their fake (but realistic looking) check will bounce.
Signs of a Fake Check
The Consumer Federation of America says watch for these signs an unexpected check is phony:
Signs of a Real Check
Doesn't that Stink?
But from the "doesn't that stink" file, fake checks that fool even savvy people.
The Consumer Federation says beware checks and letters showing legitimate logos like Walmart, Costco, and Best Buy.
They often claim you have been chosen to be a mystery shopper. But no one will send you money in advance to do mystery shopping.
Fall for it and you'll say "doesn't that stink?"
Finally, if a check shows up unannounced in your mailbox, make sure there are no strings attached if you cash it.
Sometimes cashing a check -- even a legitimate one -- means you agree to a subscription you may not want, so don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
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