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Fraud Alert - Counterfeit Cheques

Businesses are being contacted for the sale of goods or services by fraudsters, who request to

pay by cheque.

The fraudster sends a cheque with a higher value than the amount expected,

and then sends the business a request for the difference with instructions on how it should be

paid back.

This is usually by bank transfer or through a money transfer service, such as

Western Union or PaySafe. Once the ‘refund’ has been provided, it is realised that the cheque

provided was fraudulent and no funds are credited to the business’s account.

The NFIB has seen an increase of 84% in the number of counterfeit cheque frauds reported to

Action Fraud since November 2015.

Criminals are targeting a wide range of services including

paintings or other artwork, photography and lessons, with various amounts requested to be


The average amount requested to be refunded is £1,818. The highest amount

requested was over £80,000.

The suspects have used pressure tactics to persuade victims to refund the amounts

immediately prior to the cheques clearing.

Crime Prevention Advice •Be cautious of payments where the amount provided is higher than expected. Refuse to

provide the service unless the correct balance is received or wait until the cheque has cleared

before refunding the difference.

•Always contact banks on a trusted number found on their website or correspondence that is

known to be authentic to confirm whether the cheque has cleared.

•Do not feel pressured to provide a refund before the cheque has cleared.

If you are not a business owner , please ensure your employer is aware of this type of fraud.

If you have been affected by this, or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300

123 2040, or visiting

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