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.


Below is some typical correspondence. I just received another one from ZHANSULTONOVA MARJANE from the Ukraine. So far it sounds legitimate.

I will play the reservation game for a little while. She has already agreed to the week in April and the price.

Now she has given me the security story and is ready to send a deposit check. We’ll see what happens.

Recently I received the following email:

Good afternoon. I am sorry for all the delay in payment.

There was a mix up in the payment sent to you ,I was suppose to receive two separate payment one for you and the other for my traveling agent But all payments was issued in your name and sent .

I tried to correct this but it was in vain as i was ask to resolve the problem myself. It would have to go through a very long process to change this error . Please I don’t know what to do.

I have been advised me to contact you since these checks where issued in your name , so you should be able to clear them into your account. As soon as you have the checks cleared to your account you are to deduct your rent and remit the balance to my travel agent Please do let me know how you can help on this issue . Thanks

Another would-be “guest” sent the following:

Thanks for the quick response . The checks was issued in your name  for the amount of $3,950 and the balance was meant for our travel expenses so the best option is that you cash them into your account remove your payment and transfer the balance to the travel agent . My only concern now is i need you to give me your word that i can trust you with these extra and do as agreed as soon as you have the cash in your account .

Although the above emails sound very suspicious, people get fooled when they receive what they believe is a “certified” check.

Don’t get scammed — and NEVER send money by Western Union to a stranger!

Chesapeake Bay View Bed & Breakfast
Cape Charles

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5 Responses to “LETTER: Innkeeper Warns of ‘Certified Check’ Scams”

  1. Gene Kelly on January 31st, 2013 3:26 pm

    … get these all the time for a lunch or dinner or take out order! Usually party of 20+ … just delete ‘em!

  2. Nancy Stairs on January 31st, 2013 5:05 pm

    I experienced the same type of scam on Craigslist. Be careful about accepting certified checks.

  3. Randy Carlson on February 1st, 2013 10:44 am

    There is also a scam in real estate with large checks sent from overseas to pay for real estate as a ‘cash deal’…and then asked to return a portion of the money by check to an overseas account. I’ve had 2 of these scams over the past 3 months.

  4. Kim Holmes Simpson on February 1st, 2013 9:03 pm

    We have a rental property in Cape Charles, and we received a scam twice. The first one we knew from the beginning and played along — they send you a fake certified check and want you to cash and and send back the extra, because their so-called travel agent wrote the check for too much. We allowed them to mail us the check; we still have it in our possession, and wondered if we should contact the police. Then a few weeks later we received an email from the exact name in your article; we played along to a certain point, then when they said they actually wanted to book, we ignored them.

  5. Steve Downs on February 4th, 2013 12:52 pm

    I used to get them all the time when I was running Veneto’s Pizzeria.
    It was fun playing them for the fools they are!