ABA: Foundation and FTC Offer Tips to Avoid Check Fraud

The American Bankers Association Foundation in collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission today released an infographic to raise awareness on the growing threat of fake check scams and the steps consumers can take to protect themselves.
Checks may seem like a relic of the past, but according to the most recent Federal Reserve Payments study, banks process nearly 18 billion checks annually. And, according to data from both the banking industry and government agencies, check fraud is on the rise.
“Chances are you’ve been the target of a fake check scam,” said Corey Carlisle, executive director of the ABA Foundation. “Maybe a scammer contacted you about an item you listed for sale online or you saw a too-good-to-be-true offer to work from home on social media. The fraudsters are sophisticated and convincing, and while their scams may vary, there’s one constant: check fraud.”
The joint infographic provides tips to recognize scams involving check fraud and offers advice to consumers on how to avoid becoming a victim. The ABA Foundation and the FTC recommend following these precautions:
  • Slow down. Before you act, talk to someone you trust and contact your bank.
  • Never send money back to someone who sent you a check.
  • Selling online? Consider using an escrow or online payment service.
  • Never take a check for more than your selling price.
  • Spot this scam? Tell the Federal Trade Commission (ftc.gov/complaint).
 In addition to the release of the infographic, Nessa Feddis, senior vice president, consumer protection and payments at ABA, is participating in a press conference with the Better Business Bureau of Chicago on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. CT. During the press conference—which will include Attorney General Lisa Madigan and representatives from the Federal Trade Commission and the United States Postal Inspection Service—the Better Business Bureau will release a new national study titled, “Don’t Cash That Check: Better Business Bureau Study Shows How Fake Check Scams Bait Consumers.” Similar press conferences are being held simultaneously in Dallas, Omaha, San Francisco and St. Louis.
“Both the infographic and the Better Business Bureau study are part of an ongoing effort by the banking industry, the government, and consumer advocacy groups to educate consumers about scams that involve fake checks,” said Feddis. “One key piece of advice is that just because the funds are available, it doesn’t mean the check is good. If something doesn’t seem right, trust your gut and talk to your banker.”
To view the ABA/FTC infographic, visit aba.com/Tools/Infographics/Pages/fake-check-scams.aspx
The ABA Education Foundation provides financial education programs and resources that help bankers make their communities better. More than 123,000 bankers have taught basic finance skills to some 5.2 million young people through participation in the Foundation’s signature programs, Teach Children to Save and Get Smart About Credit. Founded by bankers in 1925, the foundation is guided by a board of bankers and is an affiliate of the American Bankers Association.
For more information, visit www.abaef.com or call 1-800-BANKERS.

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