Saturday, October 21, 2006

American Express Gift Cheques Being Circulated in Internet Scams

A couple of weeks ago, I updated an earlier post about counterfeit American Express Gift Cheques and asked my readers to help me discover exactly how these items were surfacing.

Prior to this, I knew they were showing up over a wide geographical area, but no one was "sharing" how they happened to get them.

One reader wrote in and said:

"I was almost duped into this. I responded to an ad on indeed.com. I was told that this person was an artist that needed a way of getting his money from clients in the US. This person was going to give me 10% of every artwork he sold. I bought in to this hook, line and sinker. However, when the payment came it was from Nigeria that made me suspicious. I checked online and verified these with American Express they asked me for all the information I had on the person I received these cheques from and had me write a series of numbers and letters on the back of the cheques and send them back to them. Thanks to your website I was able to prevent this from happening to me."

Several other readers wrote in and reported getting them as a result of being hired to process payments a.k.a. (also known as) a "job scam," or as an "overpayment scam" for something they were selling online. The goal in an "overpayment scam" is to have the amount "overpaid" wired to a far-away locale.

In every report, the reader had been asked to negotiate the items and wire the majority of it (minus a commission) to either Nigeria, or the United Kingdom. The return addresses (where they were being sent from) were from all over the United States and as stated above, Nigeria.

Interestingly enough, I haven't seen any warnings in the press, or from American Express about this.

The best way for someone to protect themselves is to verify them with American Express by calling their verification number at 1-800-221-7282. American Express claims that if you do this, they will either tell you the item is fraudulent, or reimburse you if they make a mistake.

If you spot any of this activity, I would report it to:

Internet Crime Complaint Center (FBI)

If it involves receiving these through the mail, you can also report it to the Postal Inspectors, here.

Besides counterfeit cashier's checks - which seem to change "affected financial institutions" daily - we have seen (mostly) counterfeit money orders (U.S. and Travelers MoneyGram) being used in Internet misdeeds in the past couple of years.

Here are some previous posts about similar, or the same activity:

Counterfeit American Express Gift Cheques

Counterfeit Cashier's Checks Fuel Internet Crime

Counterfeit Postal Money Orders Showing Up in IScams Again

Postal Money Order Romance Scam

Counterfeit Travelers Express (MoneyGram) Money Orders Showing Up ...

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wanted to respond to this. It's something about guys that think all American women are dumb. Once mistake twice fool. I have been down that road and I guarantee it won't happen again.

Francine said...

American women are not dumb .... there are a lot of us, who have been down the road you are talking about.

If you would like to meet us, we have a group:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/romancescams/

Anonymous said...

I thought I was getting a second job and was asked to put a lot of these in my bank account, then wire the money to the UK.

I came across this post, and my question is, where is any warning about this from American Express?

Anonymous said...

i just got 20 $500 Amex gift checks in the mail. i was suppose to cash them and then send them to Nigeria by western union. and keep 10%. when i got them in the mail, not expecting that much of them, i immediatly got on the phone with Amex and the were fraud. Dont be fooled like i was

Anonymous said...

I filled out an ad on an internet (careerbuilders.com) job search to represent a conveyer belt manufacture in Asia. I started sounding too “fishy” so I blocked the sender and 5 $500.00 gift checks showed up a few weeks later with absolutely no other info with them. American Express does not even make a $500.00 gift check the largest they make is $100.00 and you can only purchase a $1000.00 every 14 days. I called Amex and they would not provide me with any info.

Ed Dickson said...

Unfortunately (based on what I've been told and seen) all the major job sites have issues exactly like the one you are talking about.

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I want to know what has been the aftermath of this for u all victims of this scam. I am a tad worried to report to the police because obviously they have my address.Please , some one respond and let me know how has it gone for you all after reporting to the police. thanks

Ed Dickson said...

Local Police won't be able to do much. Haven't checked lately, but if you call the Amex number - they will have you send them in.

My guess is that Amex is working with a Federal agency (probably Postal Inspectors) on this case.

There are so many of them being sent so randomly (my guess) is the bad guys have a lot of addresses (physical and e-mail).

Anonymous said...

i have recived checks also from american express and they were sent fed ex i have names of numbers an addys from which they were sent from what should i do with them

Ed Dickson said...

Call 800-221-7282 and verify whether they are good, or not.

Anonymous said...

I received an email, saying part time job offer as a book keeper..So I decided to go for it..I received 10 American Express Gift Cheques in the mail, saying to cash them at the bank, take 10%, and wire the rest to West Africa through Western Union..I knew something was strange about this whole ordeal, so I called American Express to see if the cheques were legit..Come to find out it was a fraud..Please be careful everyone..I realize it's a common email sent to every one..