Are you observant enough to catch a check scam when it’s happening to you? Do you check your finances regularly enough to catch discrepancies? A recent incident drove home the importance of keeping a close eye on your accounts for one member of Team Clark.
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 found out the truth: “It was a fraudulent electronic check,” she says.
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.”
Lori says she highly recommends customers stop receiving paper statements, as they can be stolen. As for the banker, she says the person who helped her was very helpful and even reminded her to change her Venmo account, “which I had not thought of.”
Check fraud: Tips to stay safe
The nation’s banks stopped nearly $17 billion in fraudulent transactions in 2016, according to the American Bankers Association. Here are some ways to avoid becoming a victim.
- Get your statements electronically: If you absolutely must have paper statements, you can always print out your digital statements in the comfort of your own home.
- 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.
- 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.