Criminal defense in Austin Texas.

Nigerian Check Scams

Posted By on October 31, 2008

I finally got a case dismissed the other day that involved an unfortunate victim of a Nigerian check scam.

When I initially told the judge what was going on, he said something to the effect of, “People still fall for that?”

I’m sure he was thinking of the “Hi, I’m a rich Nigerian who needs to transfer a billion dollars to your account” version, but the scam artists have gotten a lot more sophisticated since then.

For a full explanation of what they’re doing, click here.

The short version is, they rely on American banking regulations that require banks to “clear,” or make available, funds from deposited checks within a certain number of days.

The scammer sends the victim a (counterfeit) check for something the victim is selling on the internet.  The victim deposits it.  When the check “clears” the victim thinks that means the check is good.  The check, however, is for more than the sales price. You send the difference, along with the item, to the scammer… only to find out, sometimes weeks later, that the check was bogus.

The really sad thing is, sometimes the way you find out is when you get arrested for having passed a counterfiet check.


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