The caller then requests your credit card number, social security number or other personal information.

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Fake check scams typically begin when you're sent a check that looks real, but is actually fake.

You're told to deposit the "check" and send a portion of the money back to the scam artist or a third person - usually by wire transfer or a reloadable card.

Fraudsters use the internet and these publications to dupe folks trying to sell their items for cash.

It works like this - you post a microwave online for $50, you receive an email from an eager person wanting to buy the microwave for $1,200.

You have to send money up front in order to receive a prize.

You haven't won anything if you have to pay for it.

Like any wire transfer, it is like sending cash, you'll never see the money and you'll definitely never see the "loan" to help you meet your financial obligations. In a legitimate loan scenario, the fees are paid after the loan has been approved, not before.

We advise consumers to do their homework and make sure the lender you're dealing with is legitimate and licensed to help consumers in Maine so you have the necessary consumer protections if something goes wrong with your loan. Always be on the alert that the person you think is calling could be just a way to get you to answer the phone.

Recently, many Mainers have encountered this scam via Facebook messenger, where someone they "know" has heard of this grant and wants to share their good fortune with you.