So, I saw this report titled “The Remington Rip-Off? Company Denies Its Promises to Inspire Youth Cost Unsuspecting Older People Thousands of Dollars” on NY1—a local, reputable news organization in New York City—and find it a bit shocking as well as fascinating; this one paragraph near the end of the piece summarizes it nicelY:

In all, these five people say Remington Biographies solicited personal checks for $14, duplicated the check numbers and took their money without authorization totaling more than $26,000. Though complaints are filed with various local authorities, no criminal charges have been filed.

So essentially, a person is contacted and asked to pay $14 to be in some questionable “Who’s Who” book nobody ever heard of. That’s honestly not that bad of a loss to lose $14 to get your name in a silly book nobody will read.

But the core of the scam seems to be to get a check, get the bank and account routing numbers, create a duplicate check and then cash it.

This make no sense to me since of doing this were so simple anyone who pays for anything by check exposes themselves to potential fraud. Even more odd to me is the duplicated checks that withdrew thousands of dollars clearly don’t look like the original check holder’s check at all.

So how the heck does a scam like this work? How is it even possible?

  • @ceejayoz I appreciate the dupe. Really stuns me this can be done. Dec 17, 2018 at 21:45
  • Yes, it's a shockingly insecure system in the US. Same thing with credit cards - Europe had chip cards in the 1980s, the US largely didn't until just a couple years ago.
    – ceejayoz
    Dec 17, 2018 at 23:00
  • we still don't really. Even ATM machines don't deal well with chip cards and they can still swiped (without pin) at fast food restaurants and grocery stores (up to a certain amount). I rarely use the chip that's on the card. So we're very much still in the transition period.
    – xyious
    Dec 18, 2018 at 16:40
  • @ceejayoz In Europe, these cards were introduced about 1995 or so.
    – glglgl
    Jun 17, 2019 at 5:44


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