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Counterfeit Bank Checks

Financial institutions are reporting that their official checks are being counterfeited and used as payment for Internet sales of property (cars, trucks, motorcycles, horses, dogs, cats, stamp collections, etc.). For example, an individual receives a check from the buyer which is usually several thousand dollars in excess of the purchase price. Accompanying the counterfeit check are instructions to wire transfer the excess funds to an account outside of the United States.

In the computer age, counterfeiting of checks is relatively easy and can be accomplished with products purchased at the local office supply store. You need to be alert and use common sense when receiving a check.

Example Banks that have been counterfeited:
Merchants and Manufacturers Bank, Joliet, Illinois:
First Northwest Bank, Arlington Heights, Illinois:
Bay Bank & Trust Co., Panama City, Florida:
Bank of Fairfield, Fairfield, Washington:

First National Bank, Cloverdale, Indiana:
First Hawaiian Bank, Honolulu, Hawaii:


  • Verify the authenticity of the checks with the institution on which they are drawn. Use a telephone number of record, not the number on the document.
  • Verify the authenticity of the checks with the issuer or maker.
  • Allow several weeks to pass before shipping merchandise to buyer
  • Never, ever return any excess funds to a buyer.