LETTER: Innkeeper Warns of ‘Certified Check’ Scams

January 31, 2013


There is a rental scam going on that we should all be aware of.

It begins with a rather normal reservation request on line. Prices and dates are confirmed. These are often unusual names —  I have received a reservation request from Lychagina Kudryashov claiming to be in Ukraine (but I have also received requests from England). Often the requests come from “priests” coming on retreat or extended stays.

People do not stay at B&B’s for a month!

The requests also usually have some sort of grammatical error, leaving out words or capitalization.

Sometimes it helps to respond by asking questions. The scammers usually cannot say what airport they are coming into, or even their form of transportation.

The scam is that they claim that they cannot give a credit card number for deposit over the Internet or phone because of security reasons. Instead, they promise to send a check.

They then send a check for a huge amount of money, asking that you deposit it and send on the rest to a travel agent or whatever.

The scam is that it is a fake cashiers check, and they are playing with the time it takes for the bank to realize that the check is fake.

If you do send on the extra money as a “courtesy” to your international guest, you have been scammed.

Recently I received a cashiers check for $5,450 from the Credit Union of Atlanta, Georgia. It looks very legitimate.

I called the bank’s security and they told me it was fraudulent, not from their bank, and that they have been trying to catch up to the forgers for some time. [Read more…]