Scams and Trying to Educate People

I had a former co-worker email me the other day and she told me she was reading her Homemade Simple Magazine, and saw my name in it.
While I was VERY happy to see this article about scams, since this helps to educate people to what is going on, I was disappointed to see that some of the facts were not accurate.  Here is a portion of the article that is speaking about how to verify the status of a cashier’s check . . .
To find out a check’s status, call your bank twice (talk to two different workers in case one doesn’t understand the process) to verify that the check has been fully processed. Otherwise you lose the money if the check is a fake.
This would not be accurate.  In the case of our story, I spoke with two different bank employees BEFORE I withdrew the money from the account, and both of them told me that the check was “good”, “clear”, “verified”, “funds were available” and that I “had nothing to worry about”.  Once we found out the check was counterfeit and were dealing with the bank’s loss prevention department we asked them the same question, and we had two different people from THAT department tell us that “a cashier’s check is verified as good within 24 hours”.  These people in the loss prevention department knew what had happened to us, yet they were still giving us the same inaccurate information.
The ONLY real way to find out if the check is counterfeit or not is to call the bank that is listed on the check as the issuing bank.  Also, you cannot trust the phone number listed on the check.  The scammers have gotten smart and have started altering those also so that they go to one of the people within their group who will tell you that the check is good.  You need to do a Google search to find the official website of the issuing bank, or the Yellow Pages listing for that bank, and then call that phone number.
The advice from this article in regards to counterfeit cashier’s checks would not save anyone from becoming a victim of these types of scams.  It is sad, because the point of the article was to show real world situations that the everyday person could become involved in, and how they can be aware and protect themselves from these scams.
It looks like we still have a LOT of education to do, especially to the people that are trying to help educate the average American.
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Financial Reform 101 with Prof. Elizabeth Warren

I was asked by my friends at AFFIL to share this information with you.

Americans for Financial Reform invites you to a special online event!

Financial Reform 101 with Prof. Elizabeth Warren

Tuesday, April 6
4:00 – 4:45 pm Eastern time

AFR is hosting this special discussion with Professor Elizabeth Warren and AFR Director Heather Booth for the general public. It will focus on where we stand in the movement for financial reform, and how everyday citizens can get involved in the fight to rein in the big banks and get the economy back on track. We hope you can join us and promote the webinar far and wide!

You and your members can sign up here:

https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/482147880

* Find out about reform efforts in Congress—including the Senate bill currently being debated, and the House bill which passed in December
* Learn why we need a Consumer Financial Protection Agency to protect us from abusive financial products
* Ask Professor Warren and Heather Booth your question about financial reform
* Hear about ways to join the fight around the country and online

Space is limited so sign up now!

Special thanks to the National Consumer Law Center for providing the webinar software. Please contact Sarah Byrnes, Sally Brzozowski or Chris Bowers with questions.

Have Banks No Shame?

I saw this article by Joe Nocera of The New York Times and I had to share it with you.

Lobbies representing the banking industry are opposing the creation of a consumer financial protection agency.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/10/business/10nocera.html

Brought to you by
Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more through
http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

Scam Jam 2009

Please join us in Portland, Oregon for Scam Jam 2009!

Learn how to protect yourself from ID theft, investment fraud, repair scams, financial exploitation . . . plus speak with Shawn Mosch of Scam Victims United!

 http://portlandscamjam.com/

You can also go to http://www.chuckwhitlock.com/scamjam.html to see footage from past events.

 Shawn Mosch

Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more through

http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

Education is the key

One of the common threads between many of the current scams, including Items for sale/ Internet Auction Fraud, Pet Scams/Puppy Scams, Secret Shopper Scams/Employment Scams, Romance Scams, Roommate/Rental Scams and even Lottery Scams, is that at some point the scammer will send the victim a cashier’s check, money order or traveler’s check. For some reason, the check will be for more than the agreed on amount, and the scammer will ask for the victim to wire that overage back to them. For many victims this will be a red flag, which it should be, so they take the next step and take the check to the bank . . . but this is where the confusion often comes into play.

To demonstrate my point, ask yourself this . . . if you deposited a cashier’s check into your bank account, at what point would you feel safe that the check is legitimate, and that you can use the funds from it with no financial risk?

A) After 24 hours

B) In 7 – 10 business days

C) When the check clears

D) When the funds are made available

E) A and C

F) C and D

G) None of the above

If you said A, you would have become a scam victim. Many banks will tell customers that a cashier’s check is verified in 24 hours. This is what our former bank told us when we deposited the check we received. Then, one week later, they called us and said that same check was now found to be counterfeit, and we owed them the money.

If you said B, you MIGHT NOT have become a scam victim, but it is still possible. As I just stated, our former bank found out that our check was counterfeit in one week, so we would have been saved, but there are some victims I have worked with that have seen there checks come back several weeks or months later. I was once told that a check could come back 6 months later, and the account holder would still be held liable.

If you said C, you would have become a scam victim. The term “cleared” only means that the clearing house has not sent the draft back for non-sufficient funds, closed account, or flag instructions on the account. It DOES NOT mean that the draft was written by the account holder, or that the money belongs to you.

If you said D, you would have become a scam victim. When you deposit a check into your account, your bank advances you the money for that check to keep the wheels of commerce moving . . . you cannot spend the money until you have it . . . so they credit your account with what is called a “provisional loan”, which is a no-signature loan from your bank to you. This DOES NOT mean that your bank has been credited by the issuing bank.

If you said E or F, I’m sorry, I only put those in there to try and throw a few people off. Since I have already shown you how A thru D are not correct, well, two wrongs don’t make a right.

The correct answer is G, none of the above. The sad part is, the scammers know this, and they use that to their advantage. This is why these scams work so well. The scammers are using counterfeit cashier’s checks, money orders or traveler’s checks, that are so good that many bank employees cannot tell the difference. They have watermarks on them and are made on the same quality of paper, so they get passed into the system just like a real cashier’s check would. It could take weeks before the item is detected as counterfeit, and by that time it is too late for the victim.

This is why education about scams, warning signs, red flags and banking procedure and terminology are so important in the fight against internet scams.

What can I do?

I will often get asked by people “What can I do?”

There are many ways that you can help to spread the word, or support our mission.

Connect with us on social networking sites and tell others that you are already connected with about us. You can find our pages here http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

If you have a blog, write about this experience and our site.

Education and spreading the word is the key to fighting these scams.

Volunteer to work with us . . . let us know what yours skills and experience are and we would be happy to find a way for you to help us.

Shop our Amazon store at http://astore.amazon.com/scamvictimsun-20

Shop our Cafe Press store at http://www.cafepress.com/scamvictim

Make a donation to us through PayPal at http://www.scamvictimsunited.com/donations.htm

Sammy Rabbit

 

Yesterday I spoke on the phone with a wonderful man by the name of Sam Renick.  His site, www.itsahabit.com helps to teach children about good habits when it comes to money and saving.  I spoke with him about a possible partnership where we could teach children about scams and fraud.  My thought is that you need to teach the next generation about these issues so that they can have the tools to better protect themselves when they are out on their own.  How does scam and fraud education tie into financial education?  Well, once you have your money in your wallet/pocket/bank account, you have to know about scams and fraud otherwise the scammers will try to take that money from you.  Now I just have to figure out how to take this idea down to a young child’s level.  I need a good saying, like the old fire safety “Stop, Drop and Roll” that kids can remember and relate to . . . and then Sammy Rabbit and Scam Victims United can bring this message to the kids.

 

Please check out Sam Renick’s site. 

Author, Founder, CEO, Social Entrepreneur
The It’s a Habit! Company, Inc.
Award Winning Financial Education Products & Programs Since 2001
www.itsahabit.com
www.sammyrabbitblog.com
http://twitter.com/sammysays