A certified check is a check that is guaranteed by the issuing financial institution. The guaranty states that the payer has sufficient funds in the account to cover the check when it is cashed.
How to Get a Certified Check
Since the financial institution is guarantying the payee of the certified check that there are sufficient funds in the payer’s account, the check must be procured through the financial institution. Like a money order, the payer is in a sense purchasing the certified check so must have the funds available at the time of purchase. Most financial institutions charge a fee to purchase a certified check.
Certified Check Scams
Be aware that there are many variations of certified check scams. Because a certified check is guaranteed, many people feel secure that they can accept one without reservation, which is why scammers are focusing efforts on these types of transactions. According to the Federal Trade Commission, counterfeit certified checks are getting so good as to fool even a few bank tellers.
The general premise of the counterfeit certified check scam involves somebody sending the victim a check for something, (auction, sweepstakes, employee) and asking that the check be deposited in the victims account and the victim wire them money. Once the bank realizes that the check is fraudulent, the money has already been withdrawn leaving the victim to replace the money.
“Certified Check Definition.” Investopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2010. <www.investopedia.com/terms/
“Phone Call Scams to Watch Out For | Sweepstakes & Lottery Phone Fraud.” Federal Trade Commission. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2010.