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How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 07:57 AM   #1
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How to verify a cashier's check is legit

I advertised my boat for sale on Craigslist and have an out of town buyer who is showing up tomorrow with a cashier’s check. With all the scams I hear about I am wondering how I can verify that the cashier’s check is good.

After spending almost three decades in the check printing industry, I’m confident I can spot most basic attempts to counterfeit documents since I’m very familiar with check security features (watermarks, micro print, metallic threads, copy-resistant inks, etc.). However, I probably cannot spot ‘check washing’, fake documents printed on stolen check stock, or reproductions using the latest copying machine technology.

I plan on using an independently verified phone number to call the issuing bank to ask them to verify they issued a cashier’s check in that amount. The financial institution is a small community bank which should make it easy to find someone to confirm they issued the check, but the trick is my buyer’s spouse supposedly works at the bank as an assistant cashier. I did confirm on the bank’s website that a female with the buyer's last name is employed there as an assistant cashier.

Knowing this, how would you suggest I go about verifying the check when I call the bank? I have a list of bank employees from their website and plan on asking for the cashier by name, but how do I insure I don’t end up talking to the buyer’s wife who is in on the scam? (Yes, I realize I sound paranoid….)

BTW, I did some checking online to verify that someone with both the buyer's name and the bank employee's name live at the address the buyer gave me.

Any other suggestions (other than dealing in cash or waiting until the check clears to give possession of the boat) on how to be sure the check is good?

Thanks.
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 08:07 AM   #2
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

Tell them you want cash

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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 08:11 AM   #3
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

I would only take a cashier's check if the buyer was willing to meet me at the issuing bank so that I could verify the funds before completing the transaction. If the bank is too far away, or, if they are unwilling to meet me at the bank, I would not do it. I would then want cash.
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 08:21 AM   #4
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

I recently bought a car with a cashiers check, because I wasn't going to an unknown persons house with $2200 cash in my pocket. Thats a good way to get robbed.

I'd call the bank to verify the check is from there, give a written bill of sale with the boat, and deliver the title later in the week after its been notarized. That way you have money, buyer has boat, and ownership doesn't transfer until title is delivered.

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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 08:24 AM   #5
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

I agree with justcurious, unless they are meeting you at the bank, demand cash.

Otherwise, do a wire transfer.
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 08:26 AM   #6
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmark
I'd call the bank to verify the check is from there, give a written bill of sale with the boat, and deliver the title later in the week after its been notarized. That way you have money, buyer has boat, and ownership doesn't transfer until title is delivered.
Good luck trying to convince a buyer to hand you a cashier's check and then wait a week for you to send them the title.
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 08:41 AM   #7
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

As a compromise, you could also request (demand?) to see positive ID from the seller, such as a driver license. Copy down names, addresses, numbers. This of course doesn't guarantee a check is good. It does provide a pretty good recourse to get someone in legal trouble if the check is funny.

Or, just demand cash. "In God we trust, all others pay cash."
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 08:46 AM   #8
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmark
I recently bought a car with a cashiers check, because I wasn't going to an unknown persons house with $2200 cash in my pocket. Thats a good way to get robbed.
Maybe in the 'hood, but at RE Wahoo's house? And I thought I was cautious.

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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 08:48 AM   #9
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

Quote:
Originally Posted by pedorrero
As a compromise, you could also request (demand?) to see positive ID from the seller, such as a driver license. Copy down names, addresses, numbers. This of course doesn't guarantee a check is good. It does provide a pretty good recourse to get someone in legal trouble if the check is funny.
This is a terrible idea. What do you care if the buyer gets in "legal trouble"? They might be charged with issuing a bad check, but that won't help you get your money.
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 08:58 AM   #10
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

Quote:
Originally Posted by saluki9
Tell them you want cash
The agreed on price is $6,500 and I wouldn't feel comfortable lugging around that much cash so I don't consider that an option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustCurious
I would only take a cashier's check if the buyer was willing to meet me at the issuing bank so that I could verify the funds before completing the transaction.
The bank is 200 miles away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saluki9
Otherwise, do a wire transfer.
I'm considering this option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustCurious
Good luck trying to convince a buyer to hand you a cashier's check and then wait a week for you to send them the title.
Yeah, I think I'd have a problem with this approach if I were the buyer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pedorrero
As a compromise, you could also request (demand?) to see positive ID from the seller, such as a driver license.
The buyer works on an offshore oil rig and is having a friend pick up the boat and deliver the check.
------
I just called the bank and asked to speak to someone who could confirm a cashier's check for me. I was transferred to a lady who identified herself with a name that appears on the bank's website as an administrative assistant at the bank (not the buyer's spouse). I explained that I was expecting to receive a cashier's check from their bank and asked what I should do to verify it was good. She said once I had the check I could call her and she could confirm it for me. Everything sounded on the up and up and passed my sniff test.

I'm leaning towards taking the check if everything checks out tomorrow.

Tell me I'm not crazy.

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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 09:11 AM   #11
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!


I'm leaning towards taking the check if everything checks out tomorrow.

Tell me I'm not crazy.

O.K. Big Guy. You're not crazy, but your priorities seem a little mixed.

You're selling a boat!

Your energies would be better served by deciding how you're going to celebrate.
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 09:17 AM   #12
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

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Originally Posted by Jarhead*
Your energies would be better served by deciding how you're going to celebrate.
I'm thinking about buying a motorhome. Or an annuity. Or taking up cow pasture pool.

But I suppose I should wait until the check clears first, right?

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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 09:22 AM   #13
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

I don't get why carrying $6500 is such a big deal

You're the one taking a risk, so it's up to you but if it were me I would demand cash.

If you for some reason really don't like cash, have the guy give you a postal money order.

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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 09:24 AM   #14
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

Quote:
The buyer works on an offshore oil rig and is having a friend pick up the boat and deliver the check.
That sure sets off warning sounds for me. You are right to be concerned.

Thinking outside the box, is it possible to get some of it in cash?
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 09:30 AM   #15
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

Having been through this; a real bank check will have watermarks or/and microprinting.
Bring a magnifying glass if you don't have good eyes. Also bring your cell phone, you can
call the bank (number is on the check), ask them to verify the check. I did this when the
check I got didn't have watermarks (their was printing on the back but they were not
watermarks, watermarks can only be seen by looking at the check up to a light).
Call the bank, they'll ask for the check account number and amount. If you are meeting
in person I'd also have a 9mm Sig Sauer ;-) or a friend, or both.
BTW, My check was a fake.
Tom

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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 09:36 AM   #16
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

I've used Paypal. You can build the fee into the price if you wish. Did a $16K motorcycle that way once.

I've done cashier checks, too, and took down both the plates and VIN number of the buyer's vehicle, as well as a copy of his license and credit card.
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 09:43 AM   #17
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
I've used Paypal. You can build the fee into the price if you wish. Did a $16K motorcycle that way once.

I've done cashier checks, too, and took down both the plates and VIN number of the buyer's vehicle, as well as a copy of his license and credit card.
Never considered Paypal.

Since the buyer is sending a third party to pick up the boat, I don't think the information I could copy will be of any use.

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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 09:44 AM   #18
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Thinking outside the box, is it possible to get some of it in cash?
Good suggestion.

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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 09:46 AM   #19
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

Quote:
Originally Posted by teejayevans
Having been through this; a real bank check will have watermarks or/and microprinting.
Bring a magnifying glass if you don't have good eyes. Also bring your cell phone, you can
call the bank (number is on the check), ask them to verify the check. I did this when the
check I got didn't have watermarks (their was printing on the back but they were not
watermarks, watermarks can only be seen by looking at the check up to a light).
Call the bank, they'll ask for the check account number and amount. If you are meeting
in person I'd also have a 9mm Sig Sauer ;-) or a friend, or both.
BTW, My check was a fake.
Tom

I don't know, if this situation breaks bad, you're going to need something with a lot more stopping power than a 9mm

I'd bring at least a .40 to be safe, .45 for sure.
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit
Old 03-19-2007, 09:52 AM   #20
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Re: How to verify a cashier's check is legit

Quote:
Originally Posted by teejayevans
Having been through this; a real bank check will have watermarks or/and microprinting.
Bring a magnifying glass if you don't have good eyes. Also bring your cell phone, you can
call the bank (number is on the check), ask them to verify the check. I did this when the
check I got didn't have watermarks (their was printing on the back but they were not
watermarks, watermarks can only be seen by looking at the check up to a light).
Call the bank, they'll ask for the check account number and amount. If you are meeting
in person I'd also have a 9mm Sig Sauer ;-) or a friend, or both.
BTW, My check was a fake.
Tom
Tom, if you take a look at my original post, you'll see I've already considered your suggestions. I've also considered the handgun...although I didn't want to post that I would be carrying. And after reflecting on Saluki9's recommendation, when the guy drives in I think I'll meet him with my 12 gauge.

How's that for being "customer friendly"?

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