The payroll check scam only works if the victim has larceny in his heart or is completely naive. (i.e., Dumb) This is a scam that makes the victim think he has made a great deal and is richer for it.
Here is how two men in Los Angeles worked the scam on Los Angeles Valley College Students in the fall of 2001.
They would contact a student and get to know them a little bit and then present a problem they said they had. They would tell the student that they had a new great job at one of the major studios in LA but could not cash their bimonthly paycheck of $4,000.
The con artist would tell the student that he did not have a bank account because someone had stolen his credit cards and he had to shut down his bank account for three weeks. He said he needed the money now for a family emergency and did not want his new employer to know that he did not have a bank account. So here was his deal to the student.
The man would let the student cash his paycheck at the student’s bank, and let him keep $1,000 of the $4,000 for helping him. So the naive student takes the con artist check to his bank and cashes it. The con man gives the student $1,000.
Then two weeks later the bank contacts the student and tells him the payroll check was a fake and the bank now wants it’s $4,000 back NOW! The student says I didn’t know it was a forged check. The bank says you cashed it by depositing it in your account and that makes you responsible. Four Los Angeles Valley College students became victims of this scam. This is an old scam but it still works because many people want something for nothing.
Never deposit a check in your account if you do not have personal knowledge that the check is good, or do not withdraw the money until the banks has cleared the check. That should take about two days. With checks forged with computers the number on the check may be a correct number but the check is still forged. So a quick check on the phone with the company may not give you all the information you need. Always ask to have the check the number and the name on the check and the date.