Online Sales, Lottery, Cashier's Checks & More
Don't be a victim. Protect yourself from fraud.
It's so easy to become a victim. It can happen fast. Before you know it, you've clicked "send" or put your money in the mail and you're out hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Scam artists work full-time at ripping you off. And after one scam bites the dust, the scam artists are ready with another one. It's no wonder so many people fall for the next generation scam.
There's no typical fraud victim. Even some of our members have fallen prey to these scams! Scammers don't care who you are, how old you are, or how much you earn. They're just after your hard-earned money.
If you're selling or buying merchandise, get an unsolicited online business opportunity, or a letter telling you that you've won a lottery, you're fair game.
Here are some common scams
- "Buyers" in foreign countries who offer to pay the shipping charges have scammed people who sell merchandise online.
- The buyer's express-deliver a Cashier's Check for more than the selling price, and check appears to be drawn on a U.S. bank.
- The buyer then asks the seller to return the overpayment by Western Union or MoneyGram.
- The Cashier's Check isn't any good. By the time it's returned as unpaid, the seller is out the money! Pretty slick. Don't fall for it.
- Wow. You get a letter or phone call telling you you've won a big lottery prize in a lottery you never entered.
- Then you're told that you must send money before you can collect. Don't bite. Legitimate lottery and sweepstakes administrators never charge fees to deliver your prize.
Myths about cashier's checks & money orders
- Don't think that because you received a Cashier's Check or money order they are as good as cash. Cashier's Checks and money orders are being counterfeited. Financial institutions and post offices have seen a dramatic increase in counterfeit activity.
Don't be fooled!
- If you receive a cashier's check or money order from someone you don't know, don't assume it's a legitimate transaction. We've seen these returned unpaid resulting in losses to our numbers.
- Federal Regulation CC regulates the length of time a financial institution must make funds available to consumers. The release of funds on a deposit is not assurance that the check has been presented and paid. On the contrary, if a check is returned unpaid, it is not received by the accepting financial institution until several days or up to two weeks from the date it was deposited.
Red flags for fraud
If the offer sounds too good to be true, it is! Watch out for anything from anybody that asks you for personal information or for money up front. Don't send it. And report it.
- Never provide your account number, social security number or routing number. This information can be used to withdraw money from your account.
- Don't get involved with an online buyer from another country.
- Don't accept overpayments from buyers.
- Don't respond to emails, letters or faxes asking you to "deposit or clear money" through your account. When in doubt, delete! Or forward e-mails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- Don't respond to winning lottery letters on lotteries you didn't enter.
- If you've been asked to "wire," "send," or "ship" money to someone you don't know — DON'T. Recent scams have come from Canada, England, and Nigeria.
What to Do
If you've been contacted by a scam artist or been a victim of any sort of fraud, contact the FTC at www.ftc.gov or call 877.FTC.HELP.
If you've provided personal or account information to someone you suspect may be engaged in fraud, call our Member Contact Center at 800.854.9846. A representative can assist you in taking the appropriate steps to protect your account.
Counterfeit Cashier's Checks
Consumers are continuing to receive Counterfeit Cashier's Checks in the mail. These checks are discovered to be as the result of Lottery, Work at Home and Internet Overpayment Fraud Scams.
It is important for consumers to know that negotiating these fraudulent items could create overdrawn balances on their personal accounts for which they could be liable for.
More information regarding these fraud scams is listed below:
Lottery Winning/Foreign Lottery
A consumer receives notification of lottery winnings by phone, e-mail or mail. They are instructed to deposit the check and send funds to an unknown third party by wire transfer (MoneyGram, etc.)
- Legitimate lotteries and sweepstakes never charge fees or "taxes" to deliver your winnings
- You cannot win a lottery you never entered and/or cannot participate in foreign lotteries
Work from Home
A consumer receives an online notification of a job offer. The offer usually involves "Mystery Secret Shopper" or "Money Manager". A check is received in the mail with a request to deposit the check and send a large portion of the funds to a third party by wire transfer (MoneyGram, etc.)
- Due to the prevalance of fraudulent information online it is imperative that consumers investigate the job offer and obtain additional information regarding the employment
- A job requiring the use of your personal bank account should especially be viewed as suspicious
Internet Overpayment Scam
A consumer is selling an item or offering room lodging online, usually through Craig's List or the Penny Saver. They receive contact from an interested buyer who sends a check as payment. The check is significantly above the asking price. The buyer says the overpayment was an error and requests the difference be sent to a third party by wire transfer (MoneyGram, etc.).
In each case, the scammers will direct consumers to negotiate the items immediately and withdraw the funds prior to confirming that the check has cleared the issuing financial institutions.
More information about fraud scams can be found on the Federal Trade Commission's website at www.ftc.gov.
Please contact our Member Contact Center at 800.854.9846 with any questions regarding these fraud scams.