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So someone is offering me bi-weekly $1,500 checks for services. I know the typical scam is: send check, check clears, they request money back, and after a couple weeks the check is found fraudulent and withdrawn, leaving you negative.

The thing is, this guy has agreed to my condition that I do not spend, send, or move a single cent of that check for 2+ weeks until the bank has 100% verified it. This way, if it's fake, the money is revoked but I'm not liable for anything.

But then, once the weeks have passed, he wants me to buy bitcoin with it. And keep it. And keep my savings in bitcoin.

How do I stand to lose/how does he stand to gain if I do this? I can only think of him asking for money at a later date. But we agreed that I won't do so if he asks. Is he just going to beg for it back and threaten the police on me if I don't? Or am I being paranoid? Does this sound legit, if complex?

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    Possibly not applicable here, but checks can bounce a LOT later than after 2 weeks.
    – jcaron
    Apr 6, 2023 at 22:35
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    How does he want you to buy the Bitcoin? If it's through a specific service, that's the scam. Which coin is it? If it's one you've never heard of, that's another place to look. I have no doubt that this is bogus, the only question is where.
    – keshlam
    Apr 7, 2023 at 2:18
  • Does this answer your question? Is this a Bitcoin scam? Apr 7, 2023 at 12:59
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    When people pay for services rendered they don't get to dictate what happens after the payment. Anyone paying with a check and telling you to park on it is, at best, floating a check. If these services are performed face-to-face then get paid in cash and everyone is protected.
    – Freiheit
    Apr 11, 2023 at 16:53

1 Answer 1

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Following the comments - your situation is slightly different than a garden variety scam questions here.

You're providing services of personal nature to people you actually meet in person. The bitcoin part is a mere suggestion (which I'm not sure is a very good one), not a requirement or part of the service. You're being paid in checks, and you're asking what are the risks.

In your situation the main risk is abuse, but if the clients are giving you checks and are willing to leave paper trail I don't think that financial, or even physical, abuse is likely. If you're dealing with cash - I'd suggest being careful since you're exposing yourself to robberies and forged currency. With checks - if law enforcement reaches out to you, don't think twice and throw your clients under the bus, you're not doing anything wrong.

I do suggest to properly report your income and avoid any trouble due to tax evasion etc. You may want to consult an attorney familiar with situations such as yours. I'm sure there are some near by, you just need to reach out.


Original answer, less relevant to your situation:

Money laundering: you're buying either stolen bitcoins or with stolen funds. You're the patsy, since the trail ends with you. The seller laundered (either the bitcoins or the cash) through you.

Pump and dump: you're being asked to manipulate the market, likely with stolen funds. You're being used to generate market and drive the prices up. Again, you'll be the patsy when the law enforcement traces the money to you.

Advance fee scam: 2 weeks is nowhere near enough for checks to be detected as fraudulent. Customers are given 30-60 days after the statement (i.e.: up to 90 days from the transaction) to notify the bank of a fraudulent transaction. Then it takes a while for the bank to investigate and get to you and claw the money back. I'd say it could easily take months, but they will eventually claw the money back. In this case, you already spent it by purchasing bitcoin from the scammer.

Does this sound legit, if complex?

Ask yourself - what are these services that you're being paid $1500/bi-weekly for, and whether they actually are worth it. If not - then no, not legit. If yes - then why so complex? Either way it stinks.

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  • So, your answer is good, but I forgot a couple details (silly me). He doesn't mind if I simply leave it in my savings. BUT he strongly encourages bitcoin "because it appreciates". Other than that, I cannot elaborate on the service, but he knows I want to use this as part of savings for a surgery I need. So it could potentially sit for years unused. Just by pure curiosity, would I even get in trouble if I left it? It's not my fault if they're stolen funds, right? I can't know for 100% if it's a scam so how would I be liable?
    – Jez
    Apr 6, 2023 at 20:55
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    @Jez possession of a stolen property is in itself usually a crime in most jurisdictions. If you are in fact paid for an actual service - are you getting 1099s/W2s? Is this income reported on your tax return and taxes paid? Is the service actually worth the amount or it's a token service just to justify a transfer? Without knowing the details it's hard to say what you're getting yourself into, it may be totally legit - but the way you framed the question raises quite a few red flags IMHO.
    – littleadv
    Apr 6, 2023 at 21:04
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    My work is off the books and is itself of an unsavory nature. It's "gifts" for what you might call physical assistance. I firmly believe that it is worth that much, or in that neighborhood. I just know that some of the people I work with are very, very predatory. I don't know for sure about this one. I have been in a room with this person, I know they are not an Indian call center.
    – Jez
    Apr 6, 2023 at 21:16
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    @Jez gotcha... I suggest to skip the bitcoin part then. If you're saving for a surgery - save for a surgery, don't try to speculate. Bitcoin (and crypto in general) vary widely and you're taking a risk that you may not want to take. In your situation it is probably actually perfectly legit (unless your services are illegal in your jurisdiction).
    – littleadv
    Apr 6, 2023 at 21:44
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    @Jez if this is a sugar-daddy type arrangement, it’s probably good that you have a clear understanding of what exactly they expect in exchange for that kind of money, the legality of it, and the risks you are thus willing to take if it is not. Also, this is income, and should be declared as such, taxes paid, etc. This would be true even if it was paid cash, but here it leaves a very obvious trace. Don’t invest in bitcoin, use something which guarantees the amount invested as much as possible.
    – jcaron
    Apr 6, 2023 at 22:47

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