First National Community Bank (FNCB) today released tips to help consumers avoid becoming victims of fake check scams. The tips come in response to a pair of fraud cases recently stopped by alert staff at FNCB’s Marshalls Creek branch.
There are many variations of the fake check scam, but the common thread is a stranger proposing to send the victim a check and have the victim wire money in return. The stranger may be someone offering to buy something you advertised for sale, pay you to work at home, or give you an advance on a sweepstakes you won.
The Marshalls Creek cases involved a senior citizen attempting to wire money for an overseas lottery and a mother looking to wire money to get her son, who was in the military, out of prison.
In both cases, FNCB employees recognized the warning signs of fraud and were able to convince the customers not to proceed.
“Our tellers and customer service representatives receive training in spotting cases of fraud like the ones prevented in Marshalls Creek,” said First Senior Vice President Joe Earyes. “The fact that we were able to prevent two customers from becoming victims says a lot about the training, dedication and teamwork of our staff.”
Fake check scammers often claim to be in other countries and say it’s too difficult to pay you directly, so they’ll have someone in the United States who owes them money send you a check or money order.
Since federal law mandates that banks must make deposited funds available quickly, a customer may be able to withdraw money on a fake check, even if it is a cashier’s check or money order. However, the customer is responsible for the checks and money orders deposited because they are in the best position to determine how risky the transaction is—they are the one dealing directly with the person who is arranging for the payment to be sent to you.
To avoid becoming a victim, FNCB offers these tips:
There is no legitimate reason for someone who is giving you money to ask you to wire money back.
If you are uncertain a check is good, wait until the check has “cleared” to spend the money.
If you are selling something, don’t accept a check for more than the selling price, no matter how tempting or convincing the story may be. If you do accept a check, ask for one drawn on a local bank.
If you think someone is trying to pull a fake check scam, don’t deposit the check – report it – because you are responsible for the money you withdrew if the check or money order bounces.
Never give out your personal financial information in response to an unsolicited phone call, fax or email, no matter how official it may seem. If you are uncertain, call your bank yourself using a phone number you know is safe.
Sometimes, the fees these people describe will seem small, particularly in comparison to the riches they offer. But there is no upside - even if you are only "risking" $30 or $40, you'll lose that money forever. And if you send your bank account information or personal identification, it is possible that the criminals will be able to empty your bank account or obtain credit in your name.
“Regardless of how the contact is initiated, the bottom line is this: if someone you don’t know wants to pay you by check but wants you to wire money back, it’s a scam,” added Earyes.
First National Community Bank | Established 1910 |
102 East Drinker Street Dunmore, Pennsylvania 18512 | 1-877-879-3622