Scammers pose as homebuyers, use fake cashier's checks

TULSA - Several area title businesses say people posing as homebuyers tried to scam them out of thousands of dollars using fraudulent cashier's checks.

As the manager of Executives Title & Escrow, it is Belinda Hull's job to handle home closings.

"We do the actual paperwork, the finalization for the lenders," said Hull.

Hull's duties include tracking, accepting and verifying large housing payments, usually in the six figures range.

Within the last year, a couple of things came across her desk that just didn't add up.

"We had two instances where we received cashier's checks that were not real cashier's checks," said Hull.

One check was made out for more than $500,000 and the other about $384,000.

Each check was about $10,000 more than the actual amount the homes were worth, meaning Hull would have to send back a refund for the difference after cashing the checks.

Unable to reach the people who sent the checks, Hull called the bank.

"There (were) some red flag warnings that made us question the checks. So we called to verify if the funds were good and they actually were not good checks," said Hull. "One check was actually a check from a lender that was stolen, a set of cashier's checks that were stolen."

Hull did not fall for the scam.

Tulsa police say not everyone is as lucky.

"Cashier's checks are kind of known as the check that doesn't bounce so everybody has trusted those for many years because it's issued through the bank," said Tulsa Police Department spokeswoman Officer Jillian Roberson. "Everything can be reproduced so that's basically what these scammers have done."

Roberson advises people to never accept a check made out for a greater amount than what is agreed to and she said always call your bank when in doubt.

"Your banking institution is going to be able to tell in whether or not it's a legitimate cashier's check," said Roberson.

Hull's company and several others no longer accept cashier's checks more than a certain amount.

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