Cheque Scams. This is one type of scam that can so easily turn into a nightmare for a victim. An increasing number of these scams are now being done in conjunction with "romance" scams and are leaving a lot of people hurting, both emotionally and financially. To help explain what can happen here is a typical scenario. Sometimes a scammer spends quite a few weeks or months preparing his victim for the hard sell. By using words and little gifts (usually payed for by stolen credit cards) to woo the person into believing that they have found "Mr Right" or "Miss Right" The scammers have a lot of experience and help from their supervisors and know just the right words to say to be believed. When the time is right, they ask the person to cash a cheque for them, citing various reasons why they cannot do it themselves. The scammer sends a cheque for an amount of say, $7,000 and asks the victim to cash it and send a portion of it back to them by Western Union or Moneygram! The cheque is either stolen or forged. There is currently in Houston, Texas (USA) and Toronto Canada, a very professional group of crooks who produce some very good quality documents and cheques, that would (and do) fool the average bank teller. The person who has received the bad cheque then puts it into their own bank account and then withdraws the amount asked for and sends it to the scammer. All seems to be well until they get a call from the bank and usually the police asking for an explanation as to why they are trying to pass a bad cheque. This is when the problems start. The banks take a very dim view of anyone trying to pass a bad cheque, if it is either forged or stolen. And of course to protect itself the bank usually informs the police. The victim of the scam is now in a very bad situation, as they have (unwittingly) tried to defraud the bank. There have been quite a few cases where the victim has been arrested and charged with an offence! Now the person who has just been scammed is distraught, by not only finding out that their "special friend" is not only a crook and has just been using them as a means to get money from them, but they are now in a very weak position of having to try and prove their innocence when technically they have committed an offence. Sadly there is another shock in store for them, as they will now be informed by the bank, that they will have to repay any money back to the bank, that was withdrawn against the bad cheque! The bank has cashed the cheque but the account owner has the responsibility to repay any money found to be short. Please take this as a warning! If you receive a cheque from any one who is asking you to cash and send money back to them, do NOT cash the cheque! in some parts of the world it is an offence to even have in your possession a fraudulent instrument like this. The safest way is to either destroy it, or take it, with any copies of any e-mails to your local police. Do not even think of trying to cash it. Even if it looks good and you need the money, you will need a lot more money to try and fix the problems that will come your way, if you deposit it in your bank. As always if in doubt you can ask us and we may be able to point you in the right direction to get assistance.