Received a check in the mail? Don’t cash it if you weren’t expecting it.

Who Is It Targeting: Postal customers

What Is It: Bait-and-switch phishing scam

What Are They After: Residents in Illinois are already being warned about a postal scam involving fake checks. According to the sender, who is supposedly a market research firm, you are to cash the check and then go purchase money orders at the post office, while keeping a significant amount for yourself as your fee. The scammer claims that they have been hired to audit local post offices. However, when you cash the check, purchase the money orders, and send them back to the scammer, that phony check actually deducts from your checking account since you withdrew the cash. You just sent your own money to the scammers.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • Never cash a check that you weren’t expecting without verifying the funds at the sender’s bank.
  • Never, ever agree to accept a check and then return a portion of the funds to the sender.
  • Companies that actually conduct this kind of market research do not send out “blind” mailings to people who are not associated with their company.

Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530.