Avoiding check fraud

It seems like headlines these days are all about sophisticated hackers and complicated scams, but old-fashioned check fraud presents a greater risk to the average person and it’s on the rise. Protecting yourself from check fraud is simple if you know what to look out for. There are many different forms of check fraud, but there are a few things they all have in common. Often times, check fraud involves someone giving you a check or money order to deposit into your account to then send a portion of the money as a payment to someone else. You make the deposit, send the money, and only later find out that the original check didn’t clear and you are left to pay the bill.

What to look out for to avoid check fraud

  • They’ve asked you to send funds to them or a 3rd party via a money transfer service
  • They’ve asked you to pay for something in the form of gift cards or prepaid debit cards
  • They’ve promised a prize or large sum of money from a contest or sweepstakes you did not enter
  • They’ve threatened jail time, a fine or turning off a utility service
  • When selling something online, they’ve sent you a check for more than the amount you’ve asked for the item
  • When applying for a loan, they ask for your banking username and password

What to do if you are a victim of check fraud

  • Quickly notify your bank that your account information may be compromised
  • Refuse to answer calls or respond to emails or letters from the scammers
  • Contact your police, FBI or local law enforcement agency to report the scam

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