Fraud Protection News & Tips

Banking is so much easier today. But there are constant risks, too. Here are some of the scams today and how you can protect yourself. Please talk to your Lakeside Banker for more suggestions or if you ever have any questions about suspicious activity.

Counterfeit Cashier Checks

The Cashier Checks at each bank are different. And Cashier Checks may seem more secure. In fact, they’re tempting opportunities for scam artists. There’s been a steady rise in counterfeit cashier checks. In fact, they’re counterfeited almost as often as currency or personal checks. So, just because a check is from a bank doesn’t mean you should automatically accept it. Here are some of the tricks counterfeiters use and recommendations on what you should consider doing.

*Be careful with offers to purchase a large item you have for sale. For example, your car. A bad check can lead to the loss of your car as counterfeiters can quickly get a new title and re-sell the vehicle.

*Another example is a similar offer to purchase something, but done through the internet or even in response to your classified newspaper ad. Con artists may pose as overseas buyers.

*Another all-too-common fraud is when a buyer sends or provides a check that’s larger than the purchase price and asks you to return the extra cash via a check or money transfer. You may lose both your item … and the extra cash!

*Be especially careful with a cashier’s check from another country.

If you’re suspicious about any cashier’s check, call the issuing bank for verification. Don’t use the phone number that might be printed on the check. Use the internet or another reliable source to obtain contact information.

Check Fraud

Another area where you can be taken advantage of is check fraud. Here are examples of things to watch out for, and again, what you might consider doing to protect yourself.

*Just as with Cashier Checks, check the source. Ask for other ID from the person offering the check. Take a photo of the identification and the person. You might even ask the purchaser to put his or her thumbprint on the back of the check. (This will aid law enforcement later if that becomes necessary.)

*If you’re selling something, is the price more than what you’ve requested? If the purchaser is asking you to send or give that “extra” money back, it may be a warning sign.

*Is the name on the check is different than the person buying your item?

*Did the check arrive via an overnight delivery service?

*Is the check in response to e-mail you received?

*Another type of check fraud is when the thieves counterfeit your personal checks and in effect assumes your identity to buy things! Keep your checkbook and blank spare checks safe! Shred or burn old checks if you throw them away. And do not share your account numbers, credit / debit cards or ATM pins with anyone.

And there are other potential scams to be aware of:

*Were you told you won a lottery (often in another country) that you didn’t enter?

*Were you asked to “wire” (or otherwise send) money to another city or country? Grandparents have been targeted, with bogus requests to send money for a grandchild who needs help! Check before taking action.

*Did you receive an e-mail asking for account information? Or for account updates? Be very careful who you give this information to! Be sure it’s your financial institution.

*Stealing mail is another way criminals can steal your identity or get access to important account information. Be sure your mail is safe. And shred mail before you throw it away.

In an ever-more connected world, counterfeiting has become an increasing concern. It’s important to be aware of the types of “tricks” these criminals play and to protect yourself. We hope these examples and suggestions are helpful. As always, please feel free to call your Lakeside banker with any questions.