Wednesday, January 17, 2007

OCC is warning the public about counterfeit cashier's checks

I've written a lot about counterfeit cashier's checks, which have spread via the Internet in a number of different scams. Known scams include winning the lottery, secret shopping, overpayment for an item sold on an auction site, or assisting a romantic interest found in a chat-room.

The people who do this are creative and you never know what new "scam mutation" will be discovered tomorrow.

The OCC is warning:

However, cashier’s checks lately have become an attractive vehicle for fraud when used for payments to consumers. Although the amount of a cashier’s check quickly becomes “available” for withdrawal by the consumer after the consumer deposits the check, these funds do not belong to the consumer if the check proves to be fraudulent. It may take weeks to discover that a cashier’s check is fraudulent. In the meantime, the consumer may have irrevocably wired the funds to a scam artist or otherwise used the funds – only to find out later, when the fraud is detected – that the consumer owes the bank the full amount of the cashier’s check that had been deposited.

The OCC offers a lot of insight about the growing problem of counterfeit cashier's checks, here.

Also contained is a FDIC Bank locator, which is an excellent tool because in a lot of scams - the crooks set up phony telephone numbers and even addresses to make themselves appear legitimate.

In the case of cashier's checks, the issuing bank (not yours) is the best place to validate whether an item is legitimate, or not.

FDIC tool, here.

If you would like to see if a particular bank has been targeted with counterfeit cashier's checks - the FDIC issues alerts, here.

Another item to key on is the "scam behavior," which normally will always involve sending money to someone in anticipation of something that is too good to be true!

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