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Avoiding Counterfeit Cheque Scams

Don’t get hooked by this increasingly common fraud involving a fake emailed cheque.

October 20, 2023    5 minute read


Avoiding Counterfeit Cheque Scams

Keep your eyes open for scammers who e-mail you a counterfeit cheque and then ask you to send the funds away. The reasons given by the scammer vary, but will usually involve a favor, an online marketplace purchase, or a new job. Once you send the funds away the cheque will bounce, leaving you to cover the difference.

These scammers put in as little effort as possible, sending fake cheques to as many people as they can in hopes that a few will be hooked. As a result, these counterfeit items usually look dramatically different from their legitimate counterparts.

Below are common and easy to spot red flags related to these counterfeit cheques.

Emailed cheques

Scammers love to e-mail counterfeit cheques – they can be easily modified and sent out to a large number of people, and there’s no need to waste money on physical counterfeits or postage. These items are not valid - never deposit an e-mailed cheque.

‘For mobile deposit only’

Regardless of how a cheque is sent, be suspicious if there is a ‘for mobile deposit only’ stamp on the back. This is an attempt to avoid detection when scammers know that their counterfeits will not pass the normal scrutiny of experienced bank or credit union staff.

Misaligned or sloppy formatting

It is common for poorly modified cheques to have misaligned or unusually large text. This is due to sloppy editing of an original item. You may see that the font, text size, or style changes dramatically from one field to the next.

‘Friendly’ fonts on business cheques

Scammers tend to choose fonts such with a flowy or friendly feel that mimics handwriting. Watch out for any cheque where the font seems unprofessional, strange, or out-of-place.

What to do if you receive a counterfeit cheque

The best thing you can do if you receive an e-mailed cheque is to delete the e-mail and cut contact with the scammer. Let Coastal Community know right away if you have already deposited a counterfeit cheque – where possible, we will attempt to recover lost funds or prevent losses.

Please visit one of our branches if you are unsure of a cheque you have received so we can attempt to verify its legitimacy. We’ll let you know if we believe it to be counterfeit.

Let’s work together to prevent fraud

Coastal Community works around the clock to safeguard your accounts. If you suspect fraud, click here to report it right away.

Learning how to recognize fraud is the first step to protecting yourself. Learn more.