Since September, I’ve been writing about counterfeit American Express Gift Cheques showing up in a variety of Internet fraud schemes.

Readers have reported receiving these items primarily as a result of work-at-home scams, but they can show up in a variety of Internet fraud come-ons. They might also show up in secret shopper, romance, lottery and auction scams.

The fraudsters want you to cash these counterfeit gift cheques and send (normally wire) the money back to them. When they are discovered to be fraudulent – you end up taking the “rap” and they disappear in an “electronic mist.”

Several readers reported being asked to wire the money to Nigeria and the United Kingdom. I recently wrote a post based on large amounts of counterfeit financial instruments being found at airports in the United Kingdom (allegedly from Nigeria), here.

Most of the counterfeit gift cheques, seen thus far, have been in the $500.00, or $1000.00 denominations. Note American Express doesn’t issue gift cheques for more than $100.00.

American Express states in their bulletin that gift cheques are safe when verified prior to negotiating them. Anyone can call them and verify an item at 1-800-525-7641.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t verify these items. Many people have also deposited them, initially received credit, and then had their accounts garnished when the items returned.

I’ve also had a couple of people write me and say they were arrested for trying to cash them. Presenting counterfeit financial instruments is considered a crime in most places. It will be up to the person arrested to prove they were a victim of a scam and not involved, intentionally.

American Express gift cheque bulletin, here.

Listed below are the posts, I’ve written since September, along with some scary comments from readers:

Counterfeit American Express Gift Cheques

Counterfeit American Express Gift Cheques (Update)

American Express Gift Cheques Being Circulated in Internet Scams

American Express gift cheques aren’t the only items that have been counterfeited and passed via Internet scams. In the past we’ve seen a lot of Postal Money Orders and Travelers Express (MoneyGram) money orders being counterfeited, also.

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