Gone are the days when a cashier's check was as good as cash. Criminals now have the printing technology to create official-looking but bogus cashier's checks. Your best advice is to question any check you receive from a stranger, even if your bank allows you to cash it and makes the funds available to you. Days or weeks later, you could learn the check bounced.
A common scam is for a consumer to receive a cashier's check, along with a request to keep some of the money and transfer the rest elsewhere. For more on this, see the entry on overpayment scams.
Sample bogus cashiers checks
To view a sample bogus cashier's check, click here. The bogus check is sent as a down payment on "lottery winnings" so that the "lottery winner" can pay administrative and clearance fees. The "winner" is directed to deposit the bogus cashier's check and send a personal check in that amount to claim "lottery winnings". Alas, the bogus cashier's check bounces and there are no "winnings". So the "winner" turns out to be a "loser" in this scam.
To view a second sample bogus cashier's check, click here. The bogus check bounces as the issuer was never located.
To view a third sample bogus cashier's check, click here.