Today’s Scam of the day seems particularly appropriate for April Fool’s Day because it involves a simple scam that takes advantage of trusting people. The Boston University Police Department is warning members of the BU community about a scam in which the victim is approached at ATMs by scammers who ask the intended victim to deposit checks made payable to the scammer into the victim’s account and then withdraw the amount of the check from the victim’s ATM account minus a small payment for their trouble and give the cash to the scammer. Scam artists, the only criminals we call artists are quite adept at convincing their victims that they don’t have a bank account and they need the cash for an emergency. Of course, the check is counterfeit and will bounce after going through the check clearing process which can take days or even weeks. Unfortunately, the money withdrawn from the victim’s account to give the scammer is long gone when the victim finds out that their good deed has led to their becoming a scam victim.
Trust me, you can’t trust anyone. A bank would not cash a check for a stranger and neither should you. Forged checks and counterfeit checks can appear quite legitimate. The only way to know if a check is genuine is to wait until it has fully cleared and you can’t do that in this situation.