The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation issued a fraud alert about bogus "bonus" checks with descriptions of the scams and suggestions of what to do to avoid them.
"For example, consumers who accepted jobs that came with a $2,000 "signing bonus" received checks ranging from $19,000 to $50,000 with instructions to keep $2,000 but wire the rest to Europe. Some consumers who complied had to repay the entire amount wired from their own accounts, plus the remainder of the original deposit. In some cases, banks lost money when customers were unable to cover the fraudulent checks." The checks were simply fake and consumers have sent their own money.
One way to protect yourself is to insist the check to be drawn on a local bank and call before releasing any merchandise.
To find out about other scams read the post from Librarians' Internet Index: New This Week.