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I received the check in the mail, deposited it and now waiting for it to clear the bank. The company is now threating to sue me for withholding company funds, if I don't send the funds to them in which I cannot due to the bank holding the funds... What do I need to do?

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    You might explain why you received the check and deposited it.
    – user6726
    Nov 27, 2023 at 20:51
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    In the title you say you are supposed to use the funds to buy equipment to use for work, in the body you say they want you to send the funds to them. Which is it?
    – jcaron
    Nov 28, 2023 at 15:46
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    To be clear: this is almost certainly a scam, the company has not actually hired you for anything and you don't have a job with them, they are only scamming you, you've done nothing wrong but they're hoping to fool you into thinking you have and thinking you need to send them money which you will then lose and you'll never get to keep the money they "sent" because they didn't actually send anything real. Nov 28, 2023 at 18:14
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    @Greendrake From OP: "The company is now threating to sue me for withholding company funds". It doesn't have to make complete sense; it can't, because it's not real, cons never are, but people who are afraid or greedy make mistakes. This scam is aiming for the fear. Nov 28, 2023 at 20:24
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    I agree it's a scam, so mess with them: Tell them you already bought the equipment and started work. Tell them you have questions and need to speak to a supervisor to understand your tasks, and ask for a phone number. Ask them when you can expect your first paycheck. Tell them the equipment caused an injury and you would like to claim disability. Ask them when health benefits and 401K matching contributions kick in. Their responses, (or lack of) will confirm they are fraudulent. Nov 28, 2023 at 20:31

3 Answers 3

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The pattern you describe fits a very common scam. The scammers send money to the victim by a reversible transaction, like a check which can bounce after initially being cleared. They ask the victim to send some of the money back (or to someone they call a third party, but who is really part of the scam) by an irreversible transaction, like cryptocurrency, gift cards, or many other ways. Banks are aware of this scam and might have stopped the check because it was suspicious.

Do you know that the company is legit? Have you been to their offices? If it is a major, well-known company, have you phoned their switchboard on a number you looked up (from a source unconnected to the possible scammers) and asked to be connected to the right department? Otherwise, there is a high likelihood that they try to scam you.

But either way, you are now involved where it is the smartest thing for you to report this to the police. Either the company handed you a dodgy check, or the bank is keeping funds from you. Go to the police, report it, and tell the company the case number. If that makes them go away, they were scammers. If not, the company can argue with the bank and the police.

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    Just to clarify, "have you phoned their switchboard" means you should find the phone number from official, reliable, independent sources, not a phone number they gave you.
    – jcaron
    Nov 28, 2023 at 15:48
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There are many scams where companies you are not familiar with send you checks which turn out to be worthless. If you have not been an employee of this company for a substantial period of time (several months if not years) I'd report this to the police. Don't send them any money and don't buy any equipment until you are sure the transaction is truly and completely cleared.

This can take months, because the company the account is drawn on gets to wait for the monthly statement to arrive, then a few weeks to notice that there is something not right on the statement, and then some time for the bank that is supposed to pay the check to reverse the payment, and for the reversal to work its way through the system to your bank.

Also, heed the comment by EJoshauS. The idea of eventually doing anything with the money assumes that the original post was incomplete and there are circumstances that make this legitimate. If the original post told pretty much the whole story, there's no chance this is legitimate.

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    Even if the check does eventually clear, odds are it's stolen funds (in which case the OP may still be liable to return the money). This seems like some variant of a paper hanging scam, but it could also be a money mule scam. Also, I don't have enough rep for a minor edit, but in the last sentence: It's vs. its Nov 28, 2023 at 15:39
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This is almost certainly a scam.

For one thing, I've never had a company send me a check to buy my own equipment myself - they always purchase it themselves through their usual requisition process and give it to me. In the rare cases that I've had to spend my own money on certain things, I submit the receipts and they reimburse me. This kind of process is just begging to have money and/or equipment stolen from them (as well as various other negative consequences for the company). This is simply not a process that a legitimate, competently run company would use.

For another thing, as others have indicated, this is an extremely common scam. Anyone who sends you money and asks you to send it back to them is immediately suspect. This is likely a variant of paper hanging (where they send you a known "bad" check and get you to give them the money as real cash) or a money mule scam (where they manipulate you into helping them launder stolen funds). I'm guessing that it's the former (since they're asking you to give them cash in exchange for a suspicious check that likely won't clear). If the check clears at all (and I suspect that it won't), it'll almost certainly be stolen money (in which case the transaction will likely eventually be reversed).

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