The Credit Union Association of New York has joined up with consumer and banker groups in a campaign to warn consumers of fake check scams.
The thieves typically give consumers a real-looking check or money order and get them to deposit and wire the money somewhere else, often telling them that this is the first part of a larger payment or reward. Then the check bounces and the consumer is left owing the financial institution the money, on average between $3000 and $4000.
The coalition, which includes the Credit Union Association of New York, the New York State Consumer Protection Board, the New York Bankers Association, the Independent Bankers Association of New York and the Consumer Federation of America, sponsored a brochure called "Don't Become A Target" explaining the common scams. The brochure will be given to consumers who come into branches to deposit a check or money order for over $1000.
"It's impossible to detect these counterfeit checks just by looking at them," said Mindy A. Bockstein, Consumer Protection Board chairperson and executive director. "The message that we want to give consumers is that there is no legitimate reason why anyone who wants to give them money would ask them to send money anywhere in return. If that's the deal, it's a scam. The CPB and our national and state partners urge consumers to exercise extreme caution and heed the warnings about fake check scams."