FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --US Postal Inspectors said check fraud is on the rise in this country and it affects people across all walks of life. One young man looking for a job online almost became a victim.
Like many young people his own age Steven Sierra posted his resume online when he started looking for a job. The 24-year-old was surprised when he received a priority mail envelope and a check for more than $2,000inside.
"As soon as I received the check, I was like, 'this doesn't seem right. This isn't right, where did this come from? I've never worked for these people; I've never heard of these people.'"
He assumed the money was linked to one of the jobs he saw online but wasn't sure, so he called his dad who was a postal employee
"Some of the jobs offered on the sites were kind of like, how should I say, too good to be true. And it sounded too good to be true and that's what we think this all came about," said Michael Bonin, father.
His father did a little research and took the check to the bank where he learned it was counterfeit.
"A lot of these scams have been around for decades, they are just getting a little bit more sophisticated cause the technology is changing," said Bonin.
Con-men likely planned to send Steven job instructions which include depositing the check and sending funds back to them. The counterfeit check usually isn't discovered for up to 14 days after money has already been sent and victims are on the hook for the losses. Fortunately, that didn't happen here.
"It was good that this young man felt comfortable enough to go to his father and say this looks a little off," said Stephanie Houston, US Postal Inspector.
Postal inspectors say do your due diligence.
"Make sure it makes sense, make sure the qualifications make sense. Even the payment, even what they are willing to pay you," said Houston.
"Instead of using online sites and search engines, I would rather do interviews face to face now," said Steven.
If you don't personally know the source of a check you receive and feel something may be wrong, take the check to a bank. They can try to verify some banking information before it goes through the system.