Think All Cashier’s Checks Are Safe?

A legitimate “Cashier’s Check” is a financial instrument that is issued by a bank on its own account. This means that the check is secured. Because, the individual who obtained it had to deposit the amount of the check into the bank. When the check is cashed, the holder of the check is guaranteed to receive the deposited money. A Cashier’s Check is sometimes called a “Treasurer’s Check” or a “Bank Check.”

If you’ve ever sold anything online, or through the classified ads in a magazine or newspaper, you may have accepted a Cashier’s Check as a form of payment. These checks are usually not as risky as accepting personal checks can be. When I sold items on eBayâÂ?¢, YahooâÂ?¢, and some other auction sites, I cheerfully accepted Cashier’s Checks for payment without a hitch. However, I did my homework first. I knew that this type of check can be as valueless as any other type of “bad” check. So, I did some research to find out how I could tell the difference between a “real” and a “counterfeit” Cashier’s Check.

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks are usually used to pay for expensive items. Examples of these items include automobiles, motorcycles, boats, jewelry, computers, real estate, et cetera. But, to lessen your chances of getting ripped off, you should be wary of any check you receive, no matter how large or small the amount is. Now, you can simply deposit the check- without spending the money- and wait for the bank to verify it or deny it. However, this process can take several days to be completed. Chances are, the buyer is not going to wait that long to receive his or her purchased item. And, just because a bank “releases a hold” on a check, does not mean the financial instrument is “good.” It only means that, during a certain period of time, the bank was not alerted that the check is counterfeit, stolen, or otherwise “no good.” The check can still be rejected and returned to you at a later time.

Therefore, it’s a better idea to take a more proactive approach to the situation:

1. Before you accept a Cashier’s Check, if at all possible, try to have it issued from a local bank.

2. Get all the details of your Selling-Buying transaction in writing. Keep a copy of the transaction in case you need it for future reference.

3. Don’t accept a Cashier’s Check if it’s made out for an amount that is larger than the agreed upon sale price.

4. Look at the Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) numbers on the check. They are located at the bottom of the Cashier’s Check. The numbers should be clearly printed, uniform in size and print, and not be crooked or smeared.

5. Authentic Cashier’s Checks have a microprint signature line and there is no text of any kind underneath that line.

6. Examine the border of the check- do you see a microprint border? A legitimate check has a microprint border around all of its edges. It also has a watermark printed on the back.

7. Locate the name of the financial institution that (hopefully) issued the Cashier’s Check. Call directory assistance and see if there is an actual phone number for this business. If there is, phone the bank and ask that the check be verified. You can also ask who it was made out to and for how much money. If this information matches the data on your check, then it is indeed legitimate. You can then safely deposit or cash the check.

However, if you find that the financial institution on the check is nonexistent, you’ll need to contact your local law enforcement.

In conclusion, don’t ever assume that a Cashier’s Check is valid and that it won’t bounce. The latest statistics show us that in one year alone, nearly seven million dollars was scammed out of victims by using this type of financial instrument.

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