Advisory: Counterfeit Cashier's Checks
Advisory: Friday, May 18, 2018
This advisory communication is to let you know that some financial institutions in the Quad Cities (Iowa and Illinois) have reported circulation of counterfeit cashier’s checks.
In the past weeks, multiple financial institutions in the Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois have reported through the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) that counterfeit cashier’s checks have been circulating in the area.
The checks are realistic and bear proper routing numbers. The cashier’s checks are being used as part of a “secret shopper” work-at-home scheme, which operates like this:
- The victim responds to an offer to work from home, then receives a cashier’s check for several thousands of dollars.
- The victim is instructed to deposit the check into his or her own account and to keep several hundred dollars as “payment.”
- The victim then uses the balance to perform some assignment, which generally involves sending the balance of the funds to third parties via wire transfers through a large retail store’s cash transfer services.
- By the time the illegitimate cashier’s checks are returned as fraudulent, the victim’s funds are gone.
What you can do:
Consumers who receive counterfeit checks can file complaints with the following agencies, as appropriate:
- U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Inspector General (OIG) by telephone at 800-359‑3898 or by visiting the OIG website.
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by telephone at 877-382-4357 or by visiting the FTC website.
- National Consumers League (NCL) by telephone at 202-835-3323 or by email. To file a fraud complaint, visit the NCL Fraud website.
- Better Business Bureau (BBB).
- FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) to report scams that may have originated via the internet.
- If correspondence is received via the U.S. Postal Service, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service by telephone at 888-877-7644; by mail at U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Office of Inspector General, Operations Support Group, 222 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1250, Chicago, IL 60606-6100; or via the online complaint form.
What your bank can do:
- Exercise heightened vigilance when receiving cashier’s checks for deposit.
- Verify authenticity with the originating financial institution.
- Warn customers of the scam.
- Observe the ATM surroundings before approaching a walk-up ATM. If anyone or anything appears to be suspicious, cancel your transaction and leave the area at once.
If an ATM is obstructed from view or poorly lit, go to another ATM. It is a good idea to take along a companion when using an ATM, especially at night.
Minimize time spent at the ATM by having your card out and ready to use. Do not let anyone see how much money you withdrew, and never count your money at the ATM.
Never allow a stranger to assist you in conducting an ATM transaction, even if you have trouble or if your card is stuck.
Stand between the ATM and anyone waiting to use the terminal so that others cannot see your PIN or transaction amount.
Look for possible fraudulent devices attached to the ATM. If the ATM looks different or appears to have any alterations or attachments to the card slot or PIN pad, do not use it. Notify local law enforcement, when possible.
- Keep the doors locked, windows up and engine running at all times when waiting in line.
- Leave enough room between cars to allow for a quick exit should it become necessary.
- Before lowering the window to use a drive-up ATM, observe the entire surrounding area. If anyone or anything appears to be suspicious, cancel your transaction and drive away at once.
- Minimize time spent at the ATM by having your card out and ready to use. Once your transaction is complete, take your money, card and receipt and immediately drive away from the terminal.
- If anyone follows you after you have completed your ATM transaction, go immediately to a crowded, well-lit area and call the police.
ATM and Debit Card Security
Debit Card Point-Of-Sale (POS) Activity
- Sign the signature panel on your debit card as soon as you receive it.
Memorize your PIN. Do not store your PIN (Personal Identification Number) with your card.
- Wait for your card receipt. Don't leave your debit card receipts at the checkout counter.
- Check receipts against your monthly billing or account statements to make sure you can identify all of your transactions. Report any duplicate charges, incorrect amounts charged, or unauthorized transactions immediately. Keep records for disputed transactions. After you have reconciled your billing statements, shred receipts.
Never leave your purse or wallet unattended and always keep your cards out of plain sight.
- Avoid storing card information when making online purchases.
Keep a list of account numbers and telephone numbers to call if your cards are lost or stolen.
Equifax Security Breach
Equifax, one of the United States largest credit reporting companies, announced a security breach on Thursday, September 6, 2017. This breach has affected over 143 million accounts (almost half the country’s population). The information cyber criminals have access to includes social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license.
Included below is the link to Equifax statements which explains several items: Potential Impact, Enrollment in free monitoring service and how to contact Equifax.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Equifax will not make outbound calls asking for customer information.
- Consumers should be vigilant in reviewing their account statements and credit reports
- Immediately report any unauthorized activity to financial institutions
- Customers should monitor their personal information and visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website, which addresses how to protect against identity theft and information about fraud alerts and security freezes.
Here is our "to do" list for keeping your identity to yourself:
- Protect your Social Security number (SSN), credit card and debit card numbers, PINs (personal identification numbers), passwords and other personal information.
- Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request - whether it is over the phone or over the Internet.
- Protect your incoming and outgoing mail.
- Keep a close watch on your bank account statements and credit card bills.
- Exercise your rights to review your credit report and report fraudulent activity - ask us about the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA)
- Keep your financial trash "clean" - shred your personal financial information