Check Scams | First Bank Security Center
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Check Scams | First Bank Security Center

Don’t Be Scammed: When in Doubt, Check it Out!

Although scams continue to change, one thing remains the same: check fraud.  In fact, at some point in your life, there’s a chance you’ve been targeted by a criminal with a check fraud scheme. To help illustrate some of the more common types of check fraud, the American Bankers Association (ABA) released an infographic detailing the sophisticated process. Don’t be scammed!

There are a variety of ways criminals will target victims with check fraud schemes. For instance, you receive a check in the mail saying you’ve won a prize. As a condition of being a prize winner, you are instructed to return the cost of taxes and fees for your winnings. You deposit the check at your bank and return a portion of your winnings to cover the taxes and fees as a condition of being a winner. However, what you don’t realize is that you’ve just been scammed! Once the bank processes the check and it bounces, you are then on the hook to cover any withdrawals you made against the check.

If it’s a scam, why does it show the funds are in my account?

By law, banks are required to make the funds available as soon as possible. But, by the time the bank discovers the check has bounced and is fraudulent, it’s too late. Not only does the scammer have the money you’ve paid back to them, but you also now have to pay back the bank.

To help you spot a scam, always be wary of the following:

  • Anyone sending you more money than the selling price for anything you sell online.
  • Anyone asking you to send money back to them after sending you a check.
  • Anyone informing you of winning a foreign lottery or getting paid as a secret shopper.
  • Anyone asking you to pay for a prize. If it’s a legitimate prize, then it should be free.

As always, it’s important to stay alert and vigilant. Resist the urge to act immediately to any offer. Proceed with caution and, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Feel free to contact your trusted team at your local First Bank branch if you have any questions regarding fake check scams. Don’t be afraid to ask--we’re always here to help! 

If you feel you’ve been a victim of a fake check scam, please report it to ftc.gov/complaint.

Source: American Bankers Association (ABA)