Crooks Want Your Money

Posted by Tony Walser on Jul 23, 2014 11:05:14 AM

Bank Fraud


Read About How They Get It - They Need Your Help

Counterfeit Checks

The Grand Prize Winner

A man opens his mail and finds a check for $3500 along with a congratulatory letter stating that he won the sweepstakes. The man is told to deposit the check and wait three days for the bank to release the funds. Afterwards, he is to transfer most of the money somewhere to pay taxes via Western Union or Green Dot.

The Secret/Mystery Shopper

A lady answers a “Help Wanted” ad and gets a job as a secret shopper. She receives a check along with a list of where to shop and how much to spend. She notices that a money transfer service is on the list (usually Western Union, Green Dot or Money Gram). She is instructed to transfer a large portion of the check back to her new boss while taking notes on the competence and friendliness of the staff.

Online Sale Overpayment

A lady places an ad for a desk she wants to sell online. She gets a check by overnight mail from a person who has always wanted a desk just like the one advertised. However, the check is written for more than the asking price. She contacts the buyer and is told to transfer the overpayment via Western Union or Green Dot to another individual who will transport the desk to Canada.

Creative Fraud

Online Dating

A man flirts with a female online and falls under her spell. He thinks it is love, but she is in it for the money. After months of building trust, she proposes a deal where he is to buy property for her mother who wants to move to the man's area. She wants his online account credentials in order to transfer money to him for the purchase. She asks for his user name, password and answers to the challenge questions. Instead of sending money, however, she breaks into the man's bill pay account and creates fraudulent payments for other victims (see more Online Dating below).

Online Dating . . . Continued

A woman meets a man online and eventually falls in love. He proposes marriage, she accepts. Unfortunately, they have never met because he lives in another country and moves around a lot. He also needs money, which she sends him. To repay her, he arranges for bill-pay checks to be sent to her. She keeps some as repayment while transferring most of the money to him.

Relative in Trouble

A woman gets a call from someone claiming to be a nephew or grandson. He's trapped in a foreign country because he was robbed, lost his wallet or was arrested. He asks her to send $5000 via Western Union or Money Gram to return him to safety.


More Creative Fraud


You get an E-mail from someone claiming to be the administrator of a foreign estate. Apparently, you are a long lost relative of a tycoon who died without children. You get excited about the possibility of riches from a relative you never knew. However, you are asked to wire several thousand dollars to pay death taxes and legal fees prior to getting paid.

Partner Needed

You get an E-mail from someone in another country who needs a partner in the United States to facilitate the transfer of millions of dollars. You are promised 25% of the amount transferred for doing little more than providing a valid account number. However, just before the money is transferred, you are asked to transfer $2500 to someone else to pay taxes, insurance or bribes.

Fake Computer Repair

You get a call from a man claiming to work for Microsoft. Apparently, your computer has a virus that he offers to fix. He has you open a log file to see the list of errors (all log files have errors) and then directs you to a website that lets him take control of your PC. A few weeks later you get a message that your files will be deleted unless you transfer money somewhere.

Do you have a Story?

Send it to We will compile the best for our next pamphlet or post to our blog. Please keep your stories to 250 words or less.


Don't Help the Crooks!

The common element in these situations is that criminals are using creative stories to get you to transfer money to them.

Don't put money on Green Dot cards for people you have never physically met. Don't send money by Western Union if you have a job as a secret/mystery shopper (that indicates that your employer is a criminal). An overpayment for an online sale means that you're dealing with a crook. Legitimate lotteries never ask you to pay taxes before sending winnings. Falling in love with a person you have never met is dangerous, and Microsoft does not call people who might have a computer virus.

If you receive a check, remember this rule:

Slow Check + Transfer = Fraud

Checks clear slowly in 4-7 calendar days. Money transfer services move moneyinstantly. Criminals know this. They try to trick you into transferring money before you find out that the check they sent you is fraudulent.

While the check is slowly clearing, the bank may allow you to have access to the money before the clearing process is complete. Even worse, bill-pay checks, which are not signed, may be returned to the depositor up to 60 days later. You are legally responsible for any check that you deposit into your account.


Combat Creative Fraud

Most fraud employs creative fiction with numerous stories. The common element is that people you have never physically met want you to transfer money somewhere by Western Union, Green Dot or Money Gram for a payoff that doesn't exist and is hard to verify.

Legitimate Card Fraud Detection

You can help combat credit/debit card fraud by taking the following steps:

  • We need your current cell phone number. Call us at (435)865-2333 to update.
  • Learn to recognize our legitimate automated fraud detection calls if suspicious transactions occur on your credit/debit card.

If you get the call, here's what to expect:

  • The automated system will ask for the last four digits of your SSN (never a full SSN).
  • A list of recent transactions will be provided for your confirmation.
  • If there is no answer the system will leave a message. When you return the call, you may be asked for your phone number to help locate your case.
  • We will not ask for the full 16-digit card number and we will never ask for your Personal Identification number (PIN).
  • Call our Card Department at (435) 865-2333 if you have questions.


Topics: creative fraud, crooks, Online Fraud, Check Fraud, Fraud, Education, counterfeit, Avoid Fraud, Card Fraud

About SBSU

Hometown banking was established in southern Utah with the opening of State Bank of Southern Utah in 1957.

Hometown banking is important because people who live and work in southern Utah make the decisions. Bank employees and officers understand the banking needs of area residents because they are affected by the same economic climate. Find out what hundreds already know - hometown banking is better.

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