i worked a job for a special event was given a total of 3 checks. i deposited them all fine and then was told 2 weeks later that the second check was a duplicate to the first and they now want me to refund the amount of that check in cash to the store. i have not been contacted by the GM or the companies accountant another employee. what should i do?

  • 6
    Did you check their math? Oct 23, 2019 at 3:36
  • 9
    Was the second check actually an exact duplicate? If your manager isn't the one contacting you, who is asking you to do this?
    – Baron
    Oct 23, 2019 at 3:51
  • 6
    Were you actually overpaid?
    – sf02
    Oct 23, 2019 at 12:46
  • 9
    This sounds like a scam to me. I have come across situations where I was paid a (genuine) "duplicate" payment a couple of times (due to a mistake in payroll or something like that) but in those cases I was asked (By an actual manager, or an accountant/HR!) to pay the money back via a bank transfer. Legit employers don't do anything in cash like this. Do the 3 checks cover the amount you should have been paid for working at that event or have you been given a 'duplicate' payment? Oct 23, 2019 at 18:58
  • 8
    @JoeStrazzere, there is not a competent accountant anywhere on the planet who would accept or allow a cash refund under these circumstances. It is too easy for cash to grow legs and go walkabout. Oct 23, 2019 at 20:56

4 Answers 4


If this was a one-time job then there is a good chance that this is a scam. They gave you three checks. When you send cash back, you’ll find that shortly afterwards all three checks bounce.

It’s also possibly a rogue employee. The company pays three checks, you pay cash back and the rogue employee puts it in his pocket. Paying by check and asking for cash back is the mother of all red flags 🚩 🚩.

At the very least you should contact a different person in accounting to verify this story.

  • 2
    Yes, this. Go to the personal finance (Money SE) and look up overpayment scams. There is a question on that every week it seems. The only difference is that those are usually online or remote. .
    – Damila
    Oct 23, 2019 at 19:41
  • 3
    "Paying by check and asking for cash back is the mother of all red flags." -- Words to live by.
    – Mark Meuer
    Mar 19, 2021 at 16:52

Who were you contacted by? Do they have the authority to make such a request? Did you reach out to management or HR at the company to discuss this with them?

If it were me, I'd contact someone at the company who has the authority to make this request and I would get the request in writing on company letterhead... then I'd consult an attorney before doing anything else.

  • 8
    I wouldn't give them "cash" I would give them a check for the exact amount, and in the memo, state the purpose. The memo is the best method to provide a binding reason for the check itself. This is, of course, you agree with the determination that the check is indeed results in an overpayment.
    – Donald
    Oct 23, 2019 at 4:29
  • I would also actually work out if it was indeed an overpayment - there may be time worked that the person requesting this is not aware of, or the amount itself might be slightly wrong.
    – Smock
    Oct 23, 2019 at 12:56
  • 3
    Definitely get an official request in writing. At the very least you need a way to prove that you didn't get paid this money if the IRS comes knocking on your door. I'd ask for the written request to include details, for both the original check and the duplicate, including dates, amounts and a clear statement that the second check is a duplicate of the, so you are being requested to refund the money to the company. Add to that a memo on the check that you write, and you should be good. I'd only get an attorney involved if they balk. Oct 23, 2019 at 14:41

It's a scam.

  1. Completely ignore this absurd 'request' until you literally hear from the owner (ie you physically talk with the owner, ideally in person not on the phone).

Do not even reply, until you hear from the owner.

IF ..

IF anything ever comes of this...

  1. Do NOTHING, NOTHING until you get a request in writing. It must be printed paper, signed and dated by the owner. And it must be handed to you in person by the owner.

IF ..

IF anything ever comes of that...

  1. regarding handing them literally cash - ROFL - write a check

  2. Have them write out on paper a receipt that you handed them a check


I certainly would call the company to let them know what is happening. It does sound like a scam to me, and they might not know about it.

If they paid you money and you accepted it in good faith, believing this to be the agreed-upon remuneration, you are entitled to cash it and keep it. If they made a mistake, the mistake is theirs. Especially if you were an employee and this is a salary check.

  • "If they paid you money and you accepted it in good faith, believing this to be the agreed-upon remuneration, you are entitled to cash it and keep it. " That's dangerously false. In many jurisdictions, you do have to return overpaid remuneration, even if you acted in good faith. That very much depends on the details. That said, OP's situation is probaby a scam, as explained in other answers.
    – sleske
    Mar 22, 2021 at 8:20

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