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4 Common Scams that Target Your Bank Account3/14/2018

Check Overpayment FraudBank Fraud collage

Check overpayment fraud is a popular sales scam that targets sellers from online auctions and classified advertisement websites. During a transaction, the fraudulent buyer will pay the seller with a non-cash payment for more than the amount of the item. The seller will be asked to immediately deposit the full amount and wire the difference to the buyer.

The phony check will eventually bounce and be returned unpaid and the seller will be fully accountable for the fraudulent check and the wired amount, which cannot be reversed.

How to avoid this scam: If you receive any non-cash payments, such as a check, money order, U.S. postal money order or other similar items, you can avoid becoming a victim by calling the bank where the check was issued or asking your own bank teller to verify its legitimacy.

Charity Fraud

You receive a call asking for donations to the local police department or to military families. After you’re hooked, the crooks elicit information about your bank account or debit card to make the donation over the phone – giving them full access to your checking account.

How to avoid this scam: To make sure your good intentions do not go to waste, the safest way to give to a charity is by choosing an organization you are familiar with. Be cautious about giving your information to individuals who reach out to you first by telephone or email.

Work-at-Home Job Scams

There is always the allure of making six figures while working from home. Some crooks take advantage of this situation by offering jobs that require people to transfer funds through their personal checking accounts. The scammers offer victims a “commission” in exchange for facilitating money transfers through their personal accounts.

How to avoid this scam: If you are asked to work at home for minimal work and high pay, it’s probably a scam. Do not accept any work-at-home opportunities that involve sending money in advance and sending a portion to a third party via wire transfer. Also, when receiving a check, make sure there aren’t discrepancies or typos that may cause the check to be flagged as being fraudulent.

Award Scams

Many situations that seem too good to be true usually are - winning a lottery or sweepstakes without actually participating? It’s probably not very likely. In these scams, you are told that you’ve won a foreign lottery. Crooks will send you a very large check to deposit into your personal checking account. You will then be asked to immediately wire a portion of the funds to pay for government taxes and administrative fees.

How to avoid this scam: If you didn’t apply for it, you didn’t win it. Plus, when winning a lottery, you will not be responsible for paying taxes or fees directly to the government.

Protect Yourself

Scammers will continue to come up with creative ways to get into people’s bank accounts, which often involves victims pulling cash out of their own accounts to hand over to the criminals or supplying them with vital banking information like your usernames or passwords.  Be sure to keep these common scams and tips in mind before you put your funds at risk.  And remember – never give out any sensitive banking information over the phone.

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