How to Avoid Fraudulent Check Scams
COLUMBIA - Banks and credit unions across the state are finding fraudulent check scams more common. Jamestown resident Dana Knierim received a check in the mail for $2,950 last week.
The check came from Soothing Solutions Massage in Texas, but she'd never heard of the business and wasn't expecting anything like this. Knierim says she immediately took it to her local bank, People's Bank, and they verified it as fraudulent.
Knierim has been unemployed for nine months now and is on the job hunt.
"With the economy the way it is jobs are few and far between. And I've been applying and I've had a few interviews but nothings come up yet. Like I said this money would have been handy," Knierim said.
However, depositing that money could have put her in an even worse financial situation. United Credit Union manager says it puts your account information at risk.
"They could send you a legitimate check, you cash that check and they can in turn get your financial information because you deposited it into your account. It puts on there where it was deposited at and that gives them more information," Amy Montcalm said.
Montcalm says her bank gets account holders coming in with scam checks more and more. She also said there are more fraudulent postal money orders happening.
United Parcel Service has a number you can call if you get fake postal money orders. You can also verify online at its website.
Montcalm says take action if you suspect a check is fake.
"If it is suspicious we would place a hold on it to protect the member and their interest as well. If the check comes back fraudulent then they are left owing that money," Montcalm said.
This way account holders don't end up having to pay back the money after the fake check in deposited.
"I would recommend if you get one of these checks take it to the originated FI [financial institution] on the check and they can tell you right off if the check is fraudulent," Montcalm said.
She says online hackers are the primary source for these scam checks and that you should take precautions.
"Make sure you're on a secured site and that you're putting your information on a site you trust," Montcalm said.