Fake checks are used in many different scams. Some include:
> Secret/mystery shopping: Scammers will pretend to hire someone as a mystery shopper, telling them that their first assignment is to evaluate a retailer that sells gift cards or money orders. The mystery shopper receives a check with instructions to deposit it, and then wire the money to someone else, or purchase gift cards. Once a transaction of this kind happens, the scammer stops communicating.
> Car wrap decals: Scammers promise easy money if you shrink-wrap your car with ads for brands, such as Pepsi or Red Bull, and send a fake check to be deposited for decal installation through a non-existent company.
> Claiming prizes: Scammers send "winners" fake checks and are told to send money back to cover taxes, shipping & handling expenses, or other fees. Legitimate sweepstakes do not work like this.
> Overpayment claims: Scammers may purchase something from you online, claim to have accidentally sent a check for too much, and ask you to refund the balance.
If you receive a message that urges you to deposit a check and then wire money in return, it's a scam.