Saturday, December 23, 2006

Fraudulent Gift Cheque Update from American Express

Since September, I've been writing about counterfeit American Express Gift Cheques showing up in a variety of Internet fraud schemes.

Readers have reported receiving these items primarily as a result of work-at-home scams, but they can show up in a variety of Internet fraud come-ons. They might also show up in secret shopper, romance, lottery and auction scams.

The fraudsters want you to cash these counterfeit gift cheques and send (normally wire) the money back to them. When they are discovered to be fraudulent - you end up taking the "rap" and they disappear in an "electronic mist."

Several readers reported being asked to wire the money to Nigeria and the United Kingdom. I recently wrote a post based on large amounts of counterfeit financial instruments being found at airports in the United Kingdom (allegedly from Nigeria), here.

Most of the counterfeit gift cheques, seen thus far, have been in the $500.00, or $1000.00 denominations. Note American Express doesn't issue gift cheques for more than $100.00.

American Express states in their bulletin that gift cheques are safe when verified prior to negotiating them. Anyone can call them and verify an item at 1-800-525-7641.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don't verify these items. Many people have also deposited them, initially received credit, and then had their accounts garnished when the items returned.

I've also had a couple of people write me and say they were arrested for trying to cash them. Presenting counterfeit financial instruments is considered a crime in most places. It will be up to the person arrested to prove they were a victim of a scam and not involved, intentionally.

American Express gift cheque bulletin, here.

Listed below are the posts, I've written since September, along with some scary comments from readers:

Counterfeit American Express Gift Cheques

Counterfeit American Express Gift Cheques (Update)

American Express Gift Cheques Being Circulated in Internet Scams

American Express gift cheques aren't the only items that have been counterfeited and passed via Internet scams. In the past we've seen a lot of Postal Money Orders and Travelers Express (MoneyGram) money orders being counterfeited, also.


Anonymous said...

So American Express finally owned up to these.

Timing was good. Right after Xmas.

Anonymous said...

I received 5 @ $500 each. There are so real, every security detail is there. One would never know, except I got burned on a stolen cashiers checks for the sale of a car and it took a year to clear my name. So I check every one I get before going to the bank with them.

Anonymous said...

I Have a Friend who was arrested for using one of these gift cards has there been any new developments

Anonymous said...

Yes I was reading and left a post on your board about these counterfeit american express gift checques. What do you do when you did not know they were fake. When I received mine I went to two banks who were willing to cash them for me but since I did not have a bank account they could'nt. One Bank even held it up in the light made a comment about counterfeit cheques but even said it was real but since I did not have an account they couldn't cash it for me. So since both banks seemed to or atleast made me believe they were real I had my step daughter sign one and deposit it in her account, 2 days later she give me the money, I then in turn asked her to do the same with another after the first one went through.

In the process of waiting for her bank to run it's coarse I asked a store manager at a Dept Store which I won't mention the name but they said they couldn't cash it for me but I could buy merchandise with it, which is what I wanted to do with it because of christmas, I have not heard from this stor yet but am waiting for something to happen or something,

I am a disabled woman with two kids whoneeded extra help for christmas and thought this was a blessing and and has turned out to be a nightmare I am having so many anxiety attacks I don't know how much else I can stand. Oh yeah I almost fogot- I also gave one to some one to help by presents for his side of the family, and of course for my kids (we have been seperated about 2 years but remain friends) but I am not sure what this is goiung to do when I gave him the check I told him how I received it told him about the banks and so forth and he agreed with me that it was a blessing from a caring individual. (Could we both have thought sooo wrong)
Anyway I have cried, been very sick to my stomache have talked with American Express have wrote my explainatory note voided out the remaining cheques and sent them back, have talked to the bank and gave back 600 of the 1000 that my step daughter received from the checks, because they froze her account and I explained the situation and the bank unfroze her account after I gave her 600 of it back to put in her bank.

My problem is I am a poor woman I do not have this kind of money--I am lucky to have 40 bucks left after paying bills each month, I was lucky enough to have 2 cheques not touched, still 600 of the 1000 (2 cheques) my stepdaughter deposited and received for me- so I only owe her bank 400- and I have no ideal about the other two that were used to buy christmas presents. I am afraid I am going to go to jail. please respond and let me know what I can do need to do or whatever please just tell me something I need to do to get out of this situation. I thank you very much