Avoiding Cashier’s Check Fraud
Many consumers have fallen victim to scams involving cashier’s checks. Scammers are printing fake checks that can look very realistic and passing them off to unsuspecting consumers. It can take days after a fraudulent cashier’s check is deposited into an account before the consumer even knows that it was a fake. Here are some common scams that we have seen and ways to protect yourself.
Someone asks you to assist in getting a check cashed.
The perpetrator asks you to cash the check because they don’t have an account. They will even let you keep part of the money for your work. Always apply the “smell test” to these situations. If something smells fishy or sounds too good to be true, it probably is. By the time you realize the check is fraudulent, the scammer has your cash and you have nothing.
Payment for an online purchase such as Craig’s list.
Sellers are receiving fraudulent cashier’s checks for items purchased on Craig’s list. Most recently, we have reports of sellers receiving cashier’s checks for amounts that exceed the agreed upon purchase price and they are asked to refund back to the buyer the excess funds. By the time the check is discovered to be fraudulent, the scammer has your goods and/or a refund check, and the fraudulent check that was deposited into your account has been reversed.
Someone asks you to participate in a “mystery shopper” program.
Unsuspecting consumers receive a solicitation to participate in a “mystery shopper” program. The solicitation includes a cashier’s check and they are instructed to cash the check, keep a small amount for their trouble, spend a small amount at a store, and then purchase a money order for the balance and mail the money order to an individual. Again, as soon as the check is discovered to be fraudulent, the original deposit to your account will be reversed and the money orders have already been cashed.
These are just a couple examples of cashier’s check fraud we have seen recently. Protect yourself from fraud by being alert and suspicious. Call the issuing bank to verify the check is genuine. Don’t count on the contact information on the check itself being correct, it may be phony as well. Look up the contact information for the bank and call it directly.
If you are a victim of fraud, report the crime immediately. Contact your bank and the bank that supposedly issued the check. Also contact the site or service through which the transaction occurred.
For more complete information, visit the FTC’s Consumer Information page.
Added Protection for Your Debit Card
Search the Apple App Store or Google Play for the SHAZAM BOLT$ app. Download it free to your device and follow the instructions to register your card. Once you've registered and signed in you can:
- Activate email alerts for card-not-present transactions such as telephone and internet purchases
- Activate email alerts for transactions over a certain amount
- Turn your debit card "on" or "off" as needed - a great tool if you use your card infrequently or are traveling.
If you forget your username or password, you can go to the login page and click either "Forgot Username" or "Forgot Password" and an email will be sent to you with your username or instructions to reset your password.
SHAZAM BOLT$ is being offered absolutely free to you from Northwest Bank as added protection for your debit card. We encourage you to take advantage of this new service. Please contact Customer Support at 563.388.2511 if you have any questions or concerns.
Online Banking Passwords
As a reminder you will be asked to change your Online Banking password every six months. Your password must meet the following criteria.
Minimum of eight digits with a maximum of ten digits.
Must contain two alpha characters AND two numeric characters and is case sensitive.
You may change your password at any time by logging into Online Banking and going to the Options page. In the “Password” section, click “Edit.”
Mortgages with Personal Attention
Looking for a new house? Time to refinance? At Northwest Bank, we believe you deserve personal attention to your individual needs. There are a lot of factors that go into determining your mortgage rate. Let our loan specialists give you a custom quote based on your situation to ensure you are getting the lowest possible rate we can offer you.
Our focus on you doesn’t end with signing the paperwork. We service all of our mortgages right here so you won’t find yourself suddenly making a payment to someone else. Call us for complete information and your custom quote.
Investment Management Group
The Investment Management Group’s team of professionals has over 200 years of financial management experience. We can help you develop and implement a sound financial strategy to preserve and enhance financial security for you and your loved ones. We provide fee based investment services which means our staff does not receive commissions for buying and selling securities in your account. Because our fees are based on the value of your account, our interests are aligned with yours. We have a vested interest in seeing that your account performs well and grows. Learn more.