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Fraud FAQs

What is fraud?

Fraud is a widespread crime that involves intentional deception made for financial gain. Criminals are constantly finding ways to outsmart their victims online, on the phone or by mail with false lottery or sweepstakes claims, work-at-home scams and mystery shopping or online sales scams.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone wrongfully uses another person’s personal information (social security number, date of birth, name, address or credit card information) for his or her own personal gain.

How can identity thieves get my information?

Identity thieves can steal your personal information in several ways.

  • Paper documents. Thieves can steal paper mail containing sensitive information or “dumpster dive” for documents in your trash that aren’t shredded.
  • Phishing. Some can send fake emails or make phone calls that seem like they’re from your bank to trick you into disclosing personal information.
  • Skimming. By using a special storage device, thieves can “skim” your card information when running your debit or credit card for a purchase.
  • Stealing. If your purse or wallet is stolen, you’re at risk for identity theft.
  • Hacking. Sophisticated thieves can hack into accounts that aren’t protected with a complex, secure password. These accounts are especially vulnerable if you access them on a public computer and don’t close your browser or log out.

What should I do if I think I’ve been a victim?

If you think you’ve been a victim, contact your financial institution immediately and follow our what to do suggestions.

How can I prevent fraud and identity theft?

Educate yourself. Review the warning signs of fraud and identity theft, and protect your personal information by shredding important documents, disclosing personal information carefully and checking your credit report.

Will my bank detect fake check scams?

Not always. Fake checks look so real that even bank tellers may be fooled. Some are counterfeit money orders or phony cashiers checks; others look like they’re from legitimate business accounts. However, even if the company appearing on the check is real, the checks are not.

Under federal law, banks must make funds you deposit available within one day unless an extended hold applies. However, just because you can withdraw money doesn’t mean the check is good. Even if the check looks real, forgeries and counterfeit checks can take days or weeks to be returned.

You are responsible for the checks you deposit because you are in the best position to determine the level of risk with the transaction. If a check bounces, you owe your bank the money you withdraw. The bank may be able to take it from your account or sue you to recover it. If it appears that you were involved in a scam and knew the check was counterfeit, law enforcement authorities could even bring charges against you.