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Someone sent me a check willingly for $4800 and now they want it back because I refused to send it to other people after it was sent in fear of me being involved in crime. And said I scammed them and said the FBI will find me and I will be arrested if I don't give it back. But i don't understand. They put it in directly to my account with a check using my info.

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    Your best bet at this point is to go to the police and explain what has happened. – Vicky Jul 10 at 8:23
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    I'll let someone from the US (assuming that's where you are) give more precise instructions, but informing the authorities and your bank are probably the best thing to do. The person is virtually guaranteed to be a scammer (see many questions on here, including this answer). As such, they are very unlikely to go to the authorities – they're just trying to scare you into falling for their scam. Keep calm and report it to the appropriate authorities/bank. – TripeHound Jul 10 at 8:26
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    Also be aware that the money will probably bounce / be recalled at some point: don't spend it! – TripeHound Jul 10 at 8:28
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    I'm not American, so perhaps this is just a quirk of the dialect, but you start by saying they sent you a check (i.e. you received a piece of paper in the mail, then brought the piece of paper to the bank and deposited it) but you finish by saying they directly deposited the check (i.e. they took the piece of paper to the bank; you had nothing to do with it whatsoever). So who brought the piece of paper (the check) to the bank? This may have some bearing on your role in the matter. – Lawrence Jul 10 at 10:48
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    Whatever you do, do not give it "back" to the scammer! It's not the scammer's money and if you give it back to the scammer, you will very quickly become a victim. – David Schwartz Jul 12 at 1:32
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This is simply a variant of deposit scams. No, you will not be arrested as this is just part of social engineered blackmail by the scanner.

However, this an indication of identity theft, you must report the incident to the bank immediately (don't delay, call today). Check whether it is necessary to file a police report or whether the bank anti-fraud department will take care of the rest.

This is what practice in the scammer cookbook:

  1. Get victims account information and phone number from data stolen from somewhere.
  2. Bank in a cheque with X amount to the victim account, this usually took 2 days to clear
  3. Call the victim ASAP, choose any script(from a dozen) to make victim believing it and make them return the money by bank-in equal amount into some other account, etc.
  4. The scammer calls the bank to retract the cheque ASAP before the funds are cleared.

The best version of the scam may even go into the extent that without banking any cheque. Since scammers already have the victims bank information, they just make a social engineering call to carry out the scam. I.e. most of the time victim will call the fake bank number given by the scammers and falls right into the trap.

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    The only thing I would add to this explanation is that the scammer is not sending his own money to the victim. He’s sending someone else’s money (victim #2), and when this is discovered, victim #1 will not get to keep this money. – Ben Miller Jul 11 at 23:23
  • @BenMiller It is plausible but complicated logistic. – mootmoot Jul 15 at 12:23
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    It probably worth answering the question about whether he will be arrested. – DJClayworth 2 days ago
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To answer your question: No, you will not be arrested for this under any circumstances.

If this had just been a genuine mistake (someone sent a cheque to the wrong address, and you cashed it), in the very worst case they would take you to court, and a judge would order you to pay the money back. In that case, the person's identity would be known to the court, so they would not have any chance to do any scam.

As you describe it, chances are 99.999999% that this is a scam. The checque you received is most likely from someone else's account; in a few weeks your bank will figure it out, the money will be gone, and they can't call the police on you because it is obvious that they are scamming.

If you have contact with the scammer again, tell them that the money is gone. The bank has removed it from your account. You can make it a bit more believable, saying you spent $500 of it and now you don't know how to replace it, and it's all their fault.

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    Don't respond to the scammers again, at all. You have nothing to gain by doing so. – Grade 'Eh' Bacon Jul 15 at 20:48
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    "No, you will not be arrested for this under any circumstances." - I don't believe that for a moment. If it looks as though the OP is complicit in some fraud, they could be arrested. They may get released again later without charges But just sitting on the money without doing anything to raise it as suspicious isn't a good thing to do. – Simon B Jul 15 at 22:36

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