A recent survey found that nearly one-third of all adult Americans have been approached with a scam involving a fake check and nearly 5 million have been taken in by them. Check fraud could cost you thousands of dollars and it usually begins when someone gives you a check or money order that is fake but looks real and asks you to send or wire cash somewhere in return. It may take several weeks for the fake check to be returned. It is a scam that could cost you thousands of dollars – you are financially responsible for the checks or money orders you deposit or cash.
There are many variations of the fake check scams. The most common scams involve sweepstakes, lotteries, grants, mystery shopping, foreign business opportunities, overpayment offers, and work-at-home opportunities. However, they all have one thing in common: the scammers want to steal your hard-earned money!
To avoid being scammed:
Never agree to send or wire money to claim a prize or lottery winnings – this is a common scam. Often, the scammer will say the wire is to cover taxes, customs, processing fees, or other expenses. Then when the fake check is returned, you lose the money you have wired. Legitimate lotteries and prize contests would never ask you to send money – they would deduct those fees and costs from your winnings.
Never agree to send or wire money for grants from the government or foundations. Once you send the money, it is impossible to get it returned.
Never agree to cash checks or money orders and send part of the money somewhere as a part of a job working from home or mystery shopping. The scammer may claim you will be processing checks from their clients. They ask you to deposit or cash the fake checks, keep part of it as your “fee”, and send the remainder by wire. The checks will be returned and you will lose the total amount you sent to the scammer.
Never agree to send excess funds above the purchase price of an item you are selling. A scammer will intentionally send you more money and ask you to keep the sales price and wire them the excess. They may use the excuse that the bank processed the check for the wrong amount or they owe someone the difference. Regardless of the excuse they use, this ploy is a scam. The check will be returned – you will lose the money you have wired and the item you sold! If someone wants to send you money, insist on a cashier’s check for the exact amount of the purchase on a local bank or a large bank with a branch in your area so that you can visit the bank or branch in person and verify that the check is legitimate.
Never agree to wire money to anyone unless you have known them for a long time. Once a wire is sent, it cannot be recalled or retrieved by the bank or by the authorities since many of the scammers operate from foreign countries.
Use a healthy dose of skepticism when accepting checks from individuals you do not know. Fake checks can look real and are difficult to spot, even for experts. Scammers may even use a fake check that looks like a bank cashier’s check. Sometimes, they create fake checks that appear to be from legitimate, well-known businesses.
If it seems suspicious or “too good to be true”, it is. You should get sound advice from a knowledgeable person and contact the authorities.
Fake check scams work because the criminal often sounds believable. The scammers look through newspaper and online ads for items for sale. They also review online job postings from people looking for employment. Scammers may even post ads trying to get potential victims to contact them. They also place random telephone calls, hoping to lure in a victim.
Because banks must make funds available within a specific time, you may have access to the funds from a fake check. However, just because the funds are available does not mean the check is legitimate. It can take weeks for a fake check to be discovered and be returned.
Don’t be a victim of a fake check scam! To get up-to-date information on check scams and other frauds, visit the Fraud Prevention page in the Consumers section of the Oklahoma Bankers Association Web site at http://www.oba.com/consumers/fraud_prevention.php
Account Security Tips
- Report lost or stolen debit cards and checks immediately.
- Review account statements carefully. Regular account review helps to quickly detect and stop fraudulent activity. Ask about suspicious charges.
- With FNB’s online or telephone banking, you can monitor your account any time and as frequently as you like.
- Limit the amount of information on checks. Do not print your driver’s license number or Social Security number on your checks.
- Store unused checks in a safe and secure location.
- Carry your checkbook with you only when necessary.
Debit Card Security Tips
- Always keep your debit card in a safe and secure place. Treat it as you do cash or checks. If your debit card has been lost or stolen, please contact your branch immediately. If it is after hours or on the weekend, please call 1 (800) 554-8969. Contact your branch immediately if you suspect unauthorized use.
- Do not send your card number through email, as it is typically not secure.
- Do not give out your card number over the phone unless you initiated the call.
- Regularly review your account statements as soon as you receive them to verify transactions. Contact FNB immediately if you identify any discrepancies.
- If you have forgotten your PIN or would like to select a new one, please visit your branch location.
- Cancel and cut up unused cards.
- If you receive a replacement card, properly destroy your old card.
- When selecting a Personal Identification Number (PIN) don’t use any number or word that appears in your wallet (such as name, birth date, or phone number).
- Ensure no one sees your PIN when you enter it.
- Memorize your PIN. Don’t write it down anywhere, especially on your card, and never share it with anyone.
- Shop with merchants you know and trust.
- Make sure any internet purchase activity you engage in is secured with encryption to protect your account information. Look for “secure transaction” symbols like a lock symbol in the lower right-hand corner of your web browser window, or “https://…” in the address bar of the website. The “s” indicates "secured" and means the web page uses encryption.
- Always log off from any website after a purchase transaction made with your credit or debit card. If you cannot log off, shut down the browser to prevent unauthorized access to your account information.
- Safely store or securely dispose of your transaction receipts.
When using your card at an ATM:
- Be aware of your surroundings and exercise caution when withdrawing funds.
- Watch for suspicious persons or activity around the ATM. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, come back later or use an ATM elsewhere. If you observe suspicious persons or circumstances, do not use the ATM at that time. If you are in the middle of a transaction, cancel the transaction, take your card and leave the area, and come back at another time or use an ATM at another location.
- Report all crimes immediately to the operator of the ATM or local law enforcement.
- Consider having someone accompany you when using an ATM after dark.
- Ensure no one sees your PIN when you enter it.
- Refrain from displaying cash, and put it away as soon as your transaction is completed. Wait to count your cash until you’re in the safety of a locked enclosure, such as a car or home.
- Safely store or securely dispose of your ATM receipts.
Online Security Tips
- Be alert. Crooks are always attempting to obtain your personal information by various methods. Do not respond to anyone who is requesting personal information by telephone or email regarding your banking relationship. If you have any doubts regarding the request, call us immediately.
- Password security starts with a strong password, which only you know. The strongest passwords use a combination of letters and numbers and are not easily guessed, such as birthdays or addresses. Your password and PIN uniquely identify you. Be sure that you keep them private and do not share them with others. Many frauds which occur are committed by someone the victim knows.
- If you receive an email requesting confidential information that appears to be from First National Bank, please notify us at once and do not respond to the email. FNB does not contact customers via email to verify or request any confidential information, such as your social security number, account number, password, or personal identification number (PIN). First National Bank will not send an email that requests you to click on a link to verify or provide information.
- Always use current anti-virus software on your computer. This step is critical to online safety and security.
- Log off the bank’s secure online web site when you have completed your online banking activities to ensure protection of your information. As an additional security procedure, you should clear your Internet history.
- Be alert regarding the most common online threat:
Phishing – Fraudulent emails may appear to be from First National Bank and may even contain a similar name, logo, web site, or graphics. While the email may look official, it is not. The goal of a fraudulent email is to obtain your personal or log in information with the goal of stealing your money or your identity by logging into a fraudulent web site or asking you to reply with the information. If you receive an email that appears to be from First National Bank, please contact the bank the bank immediately, forward the email to fraud_at_fnbokla.com and then immediately delete the suspicious email. If you have replied to a suspicious email and provided private information about your FNB account, please contact us immediately at (405) 275-8830.
Pharming – Also known as “domain spoofing,” the crook intercepts Internet traffic and re-directs it to a fake or fraudulent web site, where the user is asked to provide personal information.
Malware – Software or programs designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system, including computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, and adware.
Smishing – An attack used to trick cellular phone users into revealing their personal data over the phone. It uses SMS messages, which makes it a "Smishing" attempt. It starts with a spam text message purporting to be from a financial institution often warning that an account has been locked and providing an 888 phone number to "verify" the account. When the phone number is called, an automated message prompts for a social security number, credit card number, and driver's license number. Never reveal any personal information through text messages or through a number in a text message.
- Additional information on phishing and other related scams can be found in the consumer section of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Web site: http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/alerts/phishing.html
- Online Tools for Businesses
Click here for more information regarding:
- Cybercrime and ways to prevent it
- Tools & practices that can help mitigate risks of malware
- Proper responses to malware and other online security threats
We've made signing up easy. To get the process started, please read the Online Banking Agreement below and continue by clicking on the "Accept" button.
First National Bank Online Banking Disclosures, Terms and Access Agreement
Welcome to First National Bank's Online Banking!
Now you can bank wherever there is an Internet connection. Whether you are at home, the office, a hotel room or wherever you travel, you can access your First National Bank accounts.
All you need is access to the Internet using either Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator (the latest versions are highly recommended for your greatest security) and a 128-bit Secure Sockets layer (SSL) encryption protocol.
The following information is provided in addition to your Depository Agreement, Electronic Funds Transfer Disclosure Statement and your Truth in Savings Disclosures. All of these agreements were received by you when you opened your account by mail when they have been revised. You agree these remain in effect and are binding on all online transactions. You should print and keep a copy of this agreement for future reference.
Privacy and Confidentiality
First National Bank is strongly committed to protecting your security and confidentiality. To ensure the privacy of your account information while you are online, you are only able to access your account with high security browsers. You must also provide both your account number and your password. If no action is taken within 15 minutes, you will be automatically logged off Online Banking.
You agree that First National Bank is not responsible for any electronic virus that you may encounter using Online Banking. Routinely scan your PC and diskettes using any reliable virus protection product to detect and remove any viruses found.
From time to time, First National Bank plans to expand the services we offer our Online Banking customers. When such services become available, we will update this agreement and notify you of the new service. By using Online Banking after the new services are available, you agree to be bound by the terms contained in the revised agreement.
Authorization To Charge Accounts
You are responsible for all transfers you or your authorized representative make using Online Banking. You authorize us to debit your designated accounts(s) for any transactions completed with Online Banking. You agree that we may comply with transfer instructions entered by any one person using an authorized Access Code and Password, regardless of the restrictions placed at the account level, i.e., two signatures required or minor no withdrawal, etc.
If you permit another person to use Online Banking or give them your Access Code and Password, you are responsible for transfers or advances made from the deposit and loan accounts linked to your online applications even if that person exceeds your authorization.
Funds must be available in the account from which you wish to transfer funds on the date you enter the transaction.
Insufficient Funds to Complete Transfer
If your account does not have sufficient funds to complete a transfer, the transfer will not be completed.
Restrictions on Transfers from Savings and Money Market Accounts
Under Federal Reserve Board Regulation D, you may make an unlimited number of deposits or transfers into a savings or money market account; however, you may not make more than six transfers or withdrawals out of such an account per calendar month (not counting transactions made at ATM's, in-person transactions or automatic transfers). Transfers made by telephone, personal computer or funds automatically transferred from a savings or money market account to another deposit account for overdraft protection are counted toward the six total permitted monthly transfers or withdrawals. If you exceed the restrictions more than three times during a 12-month period, we will contact you about closing the savings or money market account or change the account to a regular checking account, whichever you prefer.
Correcting or Canceling Your Transfer
You cannot cancel your transfer after it has been entered into the Online Banking System and the information has been transmitted to us. You can correct information concerning a transfer before you send the information, and you can use Online Banking to reverse a transaction after it has been made.
Documentation and Verification of Transfers
The date and amount of transfers made through Online Banking will be shown on your printed statements for the accounts involved in the transaction.
Telephone Number for Notification of Unauthorized Use
If you believe your Access Code and/or password have become known by an unauthorized person or that someone has transferred money without your permission, call First National Bank at: (405) 275-8830, during regular business hours, as soon as possible.
First National Bank does not currently charge a fee for setting up, maintaining or using our Online Banking service.
Bill Pay - bill pay services are available for $3.95 per month only if you elect to use this service.
Termination or Discontinuation
In the event you wish to discontinue using First National Bank's Online Banking, contact First National Bank in writing at P O Box 68, Shawnee, OK 74802-0068. We may at any time, for any reason, terminate your Online Banking service. If you do not use your Online Banking access for 90 days, your access may be discontinued until you contact us.
By clicking on the "Accept" button, I agree that I have read and completely understand the above Online Banking Disclosures.