Cameron in California told me last week about a possible cashier's check scam:
Hopefully no one will fall for this, but I got an email solicitation the other day from someone who claimed they found me through Houzz and they wanted me to photograph a rental property for them.
Poor grammar, and the fact that I have almost nothing on my Houzz profile made me suspicious. I looked up the address (a rental in near where I live) and contacted the agent. He'd never heard of the person requesting the shoot. They probably were running the "certified check" scam. I sent a brief email asking for more info and when it was obvious from the reply that this was a scam I didn't reply. After a day they sent another email asking if I were still interested, so they are persistent. Thought I'd let you know in case others in our business are being targeted.
Initially, I was skeptical that this situation could be turned into a cashiers check scam but Cameron suggested the following scenario:
I think the scam is this: they say they want to pay you with cashier’s check. You say OK. Then when you get the check it is for too much, and they ask you to refund the overage, or use it to pay their stager or some other 3rd party. You do so thinking the cashier’s check is good (aren’t they always?) and your bank doesn’t discover the check is fraudulent until after you’ve sent the money.
This scenario is similar to that described in the video above. The key to protecting yourself from these scams is understanding that a cashiers check isn't any different than a personal check. They aren't the same as cash!