Disclaimer: We are not attorneys and don't pretend to be.

In our experience, the solutions offered in this section have proven to be effective; however, we always recommend that you consult with an attorney.

If you have doubts about Fraud Aid, do not hesitate to contact federal (FBI, Secret Service, RCMP) Scotland Yard, or local law enforcement to check us out.


Stay out of debt and stay out of jail:

The legal truth about work-at-home money, package, and check forwarding jobs


How to really verify a check

Your ID Theft Prevention To-Do List

What to do about threats from scammers

There is a lot of information on this page - please read everything carefully


You have cashed a check or money order at a store and have sent and/or spent the money.

Warning: You are at high risk of arrest.

Cease all correspondence with the scammers.  Do not open or answers their emails.  If you have caller ID, do not answer their calls.  If you do answer the phone, hang up as soon as you realize who is calling you.  If they persist, blow a whistle into the telephone.  If you are being threatened, please go here: http://www.fraudaid.com/threats.htm

If you have been corresponding with the scammers by email and/or have gone to a web site they told you is theirs, you are at high risk of Identity Theft even if you have bad credit.  Go here: www.fraudaid.com/id_theft.htm.

File a Scam Email Report with our Law Enforcement Support Division.  You will find step-by-step graphic instructions for your email service here: www.fraudaid.com/find_headers.htm.

MONEY ORDER WARNING! Counterfeiters are now inventing the names of money order companies.  DO NOT CASH any money order and DO NOT DEPOSIT any money order you receive from someone you do not know  or someone you met online without ordering your bank to send it for collection.

DO NOT WITHDRAW ANY FUNDS FROM YOUR ACCOUNT to spend or to send to anyone without asking your bank if they have been paid.  Even with a hold, your account is credited before your bank has been paid.   If the draft you deposited comes back because it was stolen, forged, or is a counterfeit you will owe your bank all the money plus return charges.  www.fraudaid.com/check_liability.htm

You have cashed a check or money order at a store and have sent and/or spent the money.

Working with check cashing stores can be difficult.  Most run on a fairly tight budget and they are targets for those who pass bad checks on purpose.

The full amount of the draft plus return fees was withdrawn from their account, leaving them in debt with unpaid bills and probably bounced checks.  It's the bank or credit union's responsibility to immediately return the funds to the rightful owner by debiting the store owner's account.

Unlike banks and credit unions, stores are quicker to contact law enforcement when they discover the draft (check or money order) you presented is counterfeit, stolen, or forged.

Law enforcement may be contacted before you even leave the store and before you have even received any money from the draft.

Many check cashing stores contact the account holder directly to verify that you are the rightful owner of the draft, and that the draft was written for the amount shown.  See How to Really Verify a Check or Money Order.

Walmart is well-known for contacting law enforcement even if all you do is ask them to verify whether or not the Walmart Money Orders you were sent are good.

Some check cashing stores are open to a repayment plan, but generally they want all of their money returned immediately.

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If you do not come to an agreement with the store as quickly as possible, they will file a complaint with the police and the chances are that you will be arrested.  If you are currently at risk of being arrested, go HERE.  If you have received a WARRANT or INDICTMENT, then go HERE immediately.

We do not generally advise that you go back to the check cashing store.  It is wiser to conduct your business by telephone, fax, and Registered Mail until your situation is over.

  1. If you can borrow the money from friends or family to repay the store, then do so immediately.  Please be certain to obtain a Promissory Note form from a stationery store or bank so that the loan agreement between you and your friend or family member is formal as you may need this for your income taxes.

  2. File a police report and get a copy for the store.  You always want to make a record of your knowledge that a crime was committed.

  3. Contact Western Union or Traveler's (MoneyGram) and ask for a tracking report of the money you sent off to the scammers.  You will need a copy to add to your police report, and you may need a copy for your bank or the store.

  4. Prepare your budget, all money in, all money out.  You will find a Budget Worksheet HERE and instructions for writing a cover letter HERE.

  5. Call the check cashing store.  Explain that you are the victim of a [Lottery, Payment Processing, Overpayment, Nigerian] counterfeit check scam and that you are determined to reach a repayment plan that is mutually beneficial.  Be sincere, be forthright, be very adamant.  The more aggressive you are about reaching agreeable terms, the better your chance of success.

    NOTE: Keep a log of each person's name, title, phone number and extension, date, time, what you said, and what was said to you.  Do this for the entire time you are working with the store to repay the debt, regardless of who you talk to.  So long as it has to do with the repayment or the scam, keep a record of your contact in your contact log.

  6. If you are able to negotiate a reasonable repayment plan with the store, you're going to be fine.  If you cannot, then at this point we suggest you seek counsel.

  7. Seeking counsel: Carefully read everything below.

    You are looking for an attorney who will intervene on your behalf to negotiate a reasonable repayment plan.  If the check cashing store remains adamant, then it may be necessary to ask your attorney about taking the issue to small claims court to ask for a court appointed mediator to settle the issue.  Attorneys do not represent clients in small claims court, but your attorney can certainly advise you about the proceedings.

    A court appointed mediator has the power of the court behind his ruling.  The mediator takes a look at both sides of the issue, reviews your budget (all items must be verifiable, so be sure to have all your back-up paperwork), and makes a determination of what you can afford to pay.  The ruling is final and both sides must accept and abide by the ruling.

    You can find out about small claims court, the fees, the procedure, and court appointed mediators by contacting your local court house. 

    If the amount you owe is over the limit for your district small claims court, ask your attorney about alternative methods.  You may also be able to obtain advice from a paralegal.  Paralegals are usually listed in the phone book, even rural areas.  If you cannot find one, you can telephone around to local attorney's offices and your local court house may even have a listing.

    Please understand that asking an attorney for advice does not mean you must come up with a retainer.  An office visit, called a consult or consultation, usually runs between $40 and $125.  You can pay an attorney to write a letter, make a phone call, review a contract, or whatever individual item is needed without incurring ongoing expenses. See How to Choose an Attorney

    Remember that the store may call the police no matter what you do.  If you discover that the police have been contacted, call your attorney immediately.  Even though the attorney you are working with is not a Criminal Defense Attorney, he will be able to contact law enforcement on your behalf.

Again, if you do not come to an agreement with the store as quickly as possible, they will file a complaint with the police and the chances are that you will be arrested.  If you are currently at risk of being arrested, go HERE.  If you have received a WARRANT or INDICTMENT, then go HERE immediately.



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