Scams Can Be Costly To You!
At Generations Bank one of our goals is to assist our customers in avoiding losses by helping educate you about possible scams
Did You Know
- You can be held fully liable for at least three years for any checks which you cash or deposit which have been altered. If any stranger asks you to cash a check and send them the money (or part of the money), as part of a sale of goods or otherwise, you are probably being scammed.
- The time it takes for funds to be made available in your account is not the same as the time it takes for a check to clear. DO NOT assume that a check will not be returned because of insufficient funds or forgery or any other reason just because the bank makes the funds available in your account. The bank cannot guarantee when a check has been finally paid. You are ultimately responsible for any check you cash or deposit. Even after final payment, a check can be returned for alterations or forged endorsements for up to three years.
- You need to examine your bank statements promptly and notify the bank of any forged or altered checks or any other unauthorized charges to your account. Failure to do so can result in losses to you. If you have a bookkeeper or other representative examine your statement you should examine it as well. Failure to notify the bank of any unauthorized charges can result in losses to you.
- Use extreme caution when dealing with anyone in any foreign country (especially Nigeria). Recent scams have cost American millions of dollars. If you have any questions about strange transactions involving a foreign transaction, you should contact the Secret Service or other appropriate law enforcements.
A scam, which appears to originate out of Nigeria, has been targeting U.S. bank customers for at least 30 years. A customer receives a letter by fax or mail asking for help in moving large amounts of money out of Nigeria. For many years the letters implied that the funds had been illegally obtained from the Nigerian government. Often the person claimed to be a Nigerian official planning to escape from Nigeria. Sometimes the person claimed to be from a company who did business with the Nigerian government who claimed the funds were charged to the Nigerian government in excess of what the business was actually billed. In the past, most of the U.S. citizens who got caught up in the scam knew that they were assisting in a fraud and therefore were not prompt in notifying law enforcement of the matter.
Recently, the first letter of the scam has changed to attract more innocent U. S. Citizens. The most recent letters use sympathy and hatred of oppression tied together with a large helping of promise of financial gain to entice participation in the scam. Unlike prior versions of the scam, the victims do not believe they must do something inherently illegal to share in unearned wealth.
What happens when someone answers the letter varies a great deal. It always involves the obtaining of information about the customer’s bank account. In one case, the person was asked to fax a copy of their deposit slip. They were told that their bank account would receive a $200,000 wire as a test to show how the transfer would work before millions would be wired. The customer was told to verify that funds had been deposited to their account. The bank received a deposit slip and check for $214,000 drawn on a legitimate large U. S. business. The customer verified that he had received a deposit, but assumed it was a wire and not a check. Then the customer was asked to instruct their bank to wire money to an account in Hong Kong. The customer then wired 80% of the funds out of the country. The deposited check was returned two days later as counterfeit and forged. The customer did not have $170,000 in assets, therefore both the customer and the bank suffered substantial losses.
The United States Secret Service has established “Operation 4-1-9” to combat the scam. If you receive a letter or fax from Nigeria, you should fax a copy to the United States Secret Service at (202)406-5031.
Internet Buyer Con
This con scheme starts with a legitimate and honest person selling something on the Internet. A buyer agrees to a price, but needs to ship the item out of the country. The buyer overpays for the item and asks the seller to send the overpayment to the shipping company. The result is that the naive customer deposits a worthless check he received from the alleged buyer and then sends off the extra cash by Cashier's Check or wire. When the check is later returned, the customer sustains the loss.
In some variations of the con scheme, a very large check is received made payable to the seller. The con claims it was an error but says he would greatly appreciate it if the seller could just send him back the extra $87,000 overpayment, and keep $500 for the trouble.
In other variations, the seller is told he will receive a wire, but in reality the bank receives a Fed-Ex package containing a large check and instructions to deposit it into your account. You think you have received good funds by wire and do not even realize you have cashed a bogus check and sent the money to a stranger.
File a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
The Help Move Money Con
This is your basic Nigerian scam. But, the more successful variation of this scheme is the poor widow with a child who just was awarded millions in an oil company accident lawsuit. She needs to move her money from Nigeria to a safe place in the United States before the government steals it.
Hundreds of similar variations of this con exist!
Lottery Scam Con
In the lottery scam you are told that you have won a $5,000,000 (or any large amount) lottery, but you must pay the taxes and fees first. When you tell them that you do not have the $250,000 for the taxes and fees, the con has someone who can loan it to you. You deposit the check and send the $250,000 by wire. Again, the result is that you cashed a worthless check for a stranger.
Bank Customers suffer
You, the bank customer, are liable when an altered check is returned weeks or even months later.
Please contact the local and/or Federal Law enforcement if you are a victim of a scam.