Ann Haney: Some common bank scams

Ann Haney • Updated Sep 24, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Last week, we talked about two common scams affecting consumers. Those were by far not the only scams out there right now. Scammers are continuing creativity when it comes to taking advantage of unsuspecting victims. 

They continue to switch it up in an effort to throw consumers off guard. Banking scams are an ongoing common problem attempting to access financial information. What should you look out for?

• Overpayment scams: In this instance, consumers might receive a check in the mail with instructions for the consumer to deposit the check and wire back a portion of it. Of course, the check is a fake and therefore you will not only receive the money listed on it, but will have to pay the bank for it and lose any money you might have wired to them. 

• Unsolicited check fraud: This is basically a scam that sends you a check for no reason. However, when cashed, it becomes an acceptance of a loan or enrollment in some program or service. Be cautious, free money is not usually free.

• Automatic withdrawals: This scam involves a company who set up an automatic debit from your bank account. They do this as part of a free trial or to collect lottery winnings. Again, this is never a good idea to set up automatic withdrawals on this basis.

• Phishing scams: Scammers use fraudulent emails or texts asking you to verify personal information. They may request account numbers, Social Security numbers, or your login identification and passwords. They use this information to steal your money or your identity and sometimes both. They are gaining a false sense of security by consumers who trust established businesses logos or names. 

What can be done to protect yourself from banking scams you may be wondering? Fortunately, there are several things that can be done to protect the consumer. 

Here are some extra precautions a consumer can take:

• Never click on a link to verify private information. Look up the phone number or organization yourself.

• Set up a double factor authentication. This is simply a second step to verify the account holder by requesting the answer to a secret question in addition to the password.

• Call the business, bank or organization and ask personally if they are needed verification on any of your private information.

• Report fake checks to the U.S. Postal Service.

• Report counterfeit checks to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357.

• Contact your bank to stop automatic withdrawals. 

• Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission at [email protected]

• Don’t be fooled by the appearance of checks. They can look very legitimate.

• Don’t deposit checks from businesses with which you do not have a relationship.

• Don’t give your bank information to anyone who calls you even for verification purposes. 

• Don’t accept a check that has an overpayment amount in it.

Being vigilant with these tips will decrease a consumer’s vulnerability to continuing banking scams. Stay alert and stay safe by applying these tips and reporting fraudulent activity to the Federal Trade Commission. By reporting these activities they are able to expose scammers and protect consumers from new types of scams. 

Ann Haney is a mother to six entrepreneurial-minded children, ordained minister, CEO of Aaron Publishing, founder of Ann Haney Ministries and Living In Abundance, nationwide motivational speaker, coupon specialist, empowerment coach and bestselling author of 20 published products, including her books, “Judgment Overruled,” “Exploding Into Successful Entrepreneurship,” “Single Steps In A Married World” and “Changing Your Life Through Couponing Financial Empowerment Series.” Contact Ann at [email protected] or visit annhaney.com.

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