Cheque fraud: it's more common than you think

Keep in mind that you're on the hook for any cheque that goes
through your account.

Marie-Aude Sauvageau | Desjardins Group

In 2016, you might not think cheques are very popular. But lots of people are still using them, and what's even more surprising is that they can be used to commit fraud. 

Here are 3 scams you should be aware of:

1. Wrong amount
Ever tried to sell a product or service online? Beware of being scammed! Picture this: after posting your ad, you hear from someone who says they're interested in buying. To close the deal, they send you a cheque for a higher amount than was agreed on. 

They then say they made a mistake and ask you to pay them the difference by sending a wire transfer. They might even ask you to keep an extra amount as compensation for their mistake and the inconvenience it caused. 

Unfortunately, their financial institution informs you later on that the cheque you deposited is fraudulent, and the amount is debited from your account. You lose money and, possibly, the goods you were selling. 

2. Mystery job
You get an email or letter saying that you've been chosen as a "mystery client," and asking you to complete a form with your personal information. 

You then receive instructions, along with a cheque to cover your related expenses as well as your work hours.

Unfortunately, later on you'll find out that the cheque is fake and that your identity has probably been stolen.

3. Someone in need 
Someone you haven't known very long asks you for a favour. They want you to deposit a cheque for them, because they don't have a bank account. 

You're nice enough to help them out. You deposit the cheque and withdraw the money to give it to them. 

Unfortunately, it turns out to be an NSF cheque, and the money is debited from your account.

A word to the wise
Regardless of what kind of transaction you're making, keep in mind that you're on the hook for any cheque that goes through your account. Stay on your toes and, when in doubt, don't be afraid to ask for a different type of payment.

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