Vacation reservation scam hits the Northwoods


Regional scam artists have put a new twist on the old Nigerian check deposit swindle. At least one county in Wisconsin has come up against a check deposit fraud which is aimed at unsuspecting resort owners there. A blurb from WJFW television in Northern Wisconsin indicates that the Sheriff of Oneida Country is telling resort owners there to be wary about taking reservation payments made by check.

The scam begins when an apparent customer reserves several rooms at a regional resort. The scam artist then pays for those reservations with a bogus check. Next, after allowing enough time for the resort owner to deposit the fake check, but not enough time for the bank to clear it, the scammer then calls to cancel the reservations and requests a refund.

The story doesn't indicate if anyone has actually suffered a monetary loss due to this scam. However, let us use this incident to remind us of a couple basic financial lessons: First, we should never take a check from anyone without current and complete identification. Second, we should never forward funds based on a check which has been deposited but which has not yet been fully cleared by the bank.