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Warning! Beware of Cashier's Check Scams

Published: 03/08/2017

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!

Larry Lohrman

13 comments on “Warning! Beware of Cashier's Check Scams”

  1. I got a text recently from someone that said they'd found me on houzz. They obviously got my phone number from houzz. As Cameron states, the text seemed off to me (I can't recall exactly what it said). I texted them back, asking them to just let me know what they need and I can provide any details thereafter. Anyway, yeah, people contacting you saying they got your info from houzz alert. I hate houzz anyway due to their photo policies so stuff like this is just more icing, not that it's houzz' fault.

  2. I get at least one a week, but mostly the family reunion one. Poor grammar, and always asking if I take credit card payments. I just delete them. They are mostly done by text. Beware- I got one through Craigslist when I was selling a motorcycle. Wanted to know if I would take a credit card then they would send someone to pick it up.
    About a year or so ago I got the cashier's check one. Amazing that there are people that fall for these!

  3. I've gotten several of the houzz texts as well. I didn't reply. So lame and annoying. I hate people who can't get money honestly.

    This one sent the same message three times in one day... From 702-508-5329: "Hi, I'm Mrs. Carolina, I came across your profile on I need a professional photographer to help us shoot up our rented house in your area, so if you're interested kindly send me an email to: for more details. Hope will read from you soon."

    From 810-852-8660: "Hi, I'm Mrs. Sharon, I came across your profile on I need a professional photographer to help us shoot up our new apartment in your area, so if you're interested kindly send me an email to: for more details. Hope will read from you soon."

  4. I recieved a few of these text messages too. I knew right away it was a scam, so I asked them to call me directly with any inqiures. Surpringly they replied, but with funny excuse "they are hard of hearing and dont use phones" . Anyways, i checked local property appraisal data base and house at the address they referred to (as if they recently bought it and need pictures of it for long distance decor - huhhh?) wasnt sold in since mid 90s.

  5. Oh, yes, I've been getting these texts as well. Some want family portraits, some other things. They always ask, "do you take credit card?" Just a few days ago I listed one of my vehicles for sale on Craigs List. Within the hour I had two texts asking if the vehicle was still for sale, to which I replied, "yes." That was followed immediately by a reply that they would buy it, but needed a name and address to send a "certified check" to. I replied, "cash only." One kept it up for awhile and I kept replying "cash only." They all stopped within a few hours.

    I don't think they will ever stop. Too many fools out there that actually believe them and get suckered in.

  6. Thanks for sharing this I got the same thing now I know how to handle it.
    I was suspicious from the first go so you guys have verified it for me thanks.

  7. Ditto. I got a text at 2AM in the morning saying they saw my profile on Houzz. The text and subsequent emails where written in poor English from non other than "Mrs. Carolina". They wanted to send a 'certified' check and want your address and personal information. Delete!!

  8. Seriously I hate being a contrarian. A person with a heavy Asian accent called me saying they saw me on Houzz and wanted images taken of a vacation rental for a friend who will be putting their home on the market in the near future. I took the the job and called the owners and booked the gig and was paid by the owners at that location. There is no way Houzz can be blamed if scammers do get our contact information on their web site. Not everyone is a scammer so figure it out for yourself before you hang up the phone. Phony calls can be spotted so give the person a chance to speak before you hang up on anyone saying they saw you on Houzz.

  9. This is just another variation of the Nigerian scam. It's been around for decades and they change it up just enough to maybe fool some unsuspecting folks - you just have to remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I used to sell stuff on eBay - I made a nice living doing so for 15 years. I turned my BS detector to high, there are more scams on that site than anywhere!

  10. "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"

    I got something similar to that through Thumbtack. They wanted me to pay the event coordinator out the check. (really..!) When I told them that as a business rule I do not accept checks for more than the agreed upon amount, they promptly cancelled the request.

    Since this scam has literally been going around for years, it was to easy to spot, though since its still going around, there have to be enough fools willing to fall for it just to score a paying gig, otherwise, it would be a total time waster..

    The key, is to ask for specific info that you can quickly verify...

  11. I get no less than one seven days yet, for the most part, the family get-together one. Poor syntax, and continually inquiring as to whether I assume praise card installments. I simply erase them. They are for the most part done by content. Be careful I got one through Craigslist when I was offering a cruiser. Needed to know whether I would assume a praise card then they would send somebody to lift it up.

    About a year or so prior I got the clerk's check one. Stunning that there are individuals that fall for these!

  12. Today I received an email from:

    Carolina Lucas ....
    Hello, how are you? I need a professional Real State Photographer to help us shoot up our rented house. If you're interested get back to me with your Zip/Code and price estimate. Hope to read from you soon.


    Sounds like part of a scam to me.

  13. I got the same exact email as Patrick by "Carolina Lucas". I was suspicious and replied with, "Where is the property and what is the square footage?" A few days later I got the exact same email without a response to my question. I replied again with the same question. Todays, again, I got the same email with no answers to my question, so I replied with, "I can't help you," and marked their email as spam.

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