Are you observant enough to catch a check scam when it’s happening to you? Do you check your finances regularly enough to spot discrepancies?
For one member of Team Clark, a recent incident drove home the importance of keeping a close eye on your accounts.
How a member of Team Clark stopped a check fraud scam
The manager of Clark’s Consumer Action Center, Lori Silverman, says she was the victim of check fraud. While the incident ended happily, it remains a cautionary tale of how easily thieves can access your personal information.
“I checked my bank account online using the SunTrust app Thursday morning and noticed a $36 debit, I believe, for either a returned check or insufficient funds,” she says.
“Then I noticed a check was attempted to be cashed for $14,664. I went to SunTrust and spoke with a banker who was able to print the check.”
That’s when Lori says she found out the truth:
“It was a fraudulent electronic check.”
Lori says quick action by her and the bank saved them both some heartache as she was able to stop the scam in its tracks.
She says she was able to get a fresh account so that she wouldn’t have to worry about any lingering effects of the scam.
“My account was closed and a new account opened,” she says. “The banker mentioned everyone is concerned about debit card fraud, but that she is seeing more check fraud.”
Here are 3 steps you can take to keep safe
Anyone with a checking account could be in danger of being victimized by check fraud. Lori highly recommends that bank customers take the following 3 steps:
1. Sign up for e-statements
If you haven’t switched to getting your bank statements electronically, now is the time. With mail theft being an issue in some parts of the country, getting your statements delivered to your email is one less hassle to worry about.
2. Take your mail inside the post office
The safest way to send mail is to take your mail inside the post office and hand it to a clerk or put it in one of the secured mailboxes inside the building. Otherwise, an unsecured mailbox, even at your home, is vulnerable to crooks.
3. Shred, shred, shred
Old canceled checks and dormant check books offer the perfect opportunity for thieves to take your personal information. Destroy your old checks by shredding them.
Having an astute customer service rep always helps, too, Lori says. The bank she dealt with in this ordeal was very helpful and even reminded her to change her Venmo account information, “which I had not thought of,” she says.