Calling all folks who are smart about money: I’ve got something of a puzzle I’d like you to help solve.
An old friend told me recently about something that happened to a co-worker. The co-worker received two cashier’s checks in the mail, but he was not expecting two cashier’s checks in the mail and didn’t recognize the sender!
He obviously has no desire to cash these checks, but is very curious as to the scam the sender must be trying to pull.
Here’s as much as he can tell.
The envelope tracking number
The cashier’s checks were mailed in Express Mail envelopes, with tracking numbers on the envelopes that did not correspond to express delivery when looked up online. However, the tracking numbers did indicate that whoever did the mailing paid for insurance.
The return address and the postmarks
The city of the post office the envelopes were mailed from was different — according to the stamped postmark — from the cities on the two return addresses, which themselves were different from each other.
The price of one postmark was in British Pounds despite everything else about the envelopes and checks being in the U.S.
The return address was from individual’s names — not a business or anything.
Finally, just to make things more fun, the return address included phone numbers with area codes in other locations from the postmark and the actual return address part.
The cashier’s checks and other contents of the envelope
The checks were drawn on two different regional banks in two different states, halfway across the country from both the return address and postmarks. Total value of the checks was $5,000.
There was nothing else in the envelopes — no letter, no instructions, no anything.
This makes it different from the scenario that the FTC cautions against when dealing with fake checks, which refers to a BIG check with an accompanying letter asking the recipient to send back a portion by wire transfer.
Needless to say, he is absolutely not going to try to cash these.
It’s a play to get the co-worker’s checking account number when he endorses them. Then, when the grifter has it and the routing number, he can make fake checks or just do an ACH pull from some other hijacked account.
The checks could even be real in this scenario, but drawn on illicit deposits — either counterfeit check or unauthorized ACH.
I’m not satisfied with my idea as it seems like there would be easier ways to get account numbers. Has anyone ever heard of a scam like this? What are they going for? What would play out if he deposited the checks?