Secure Your Finances, Stay Informed

Mobile deposits have revolutionized banking, offering a safe and convenient way to deposit checks with just a few taps on your smartphone. However, it's crucial to be aware of scammers who exploit mobile deposits for their personal gain. Understanding how these scams work and taking proactive steps to protect yourself is essential.

How do mobile deposit scams operate?

Scammers often approach their victims via email or social media, posing as potential employers, lenders, or buyers on marketplace sites. They promise quick earnings by asking victims to deposit a check into their accounts. The scammers may even request sensitive information like bank account details or online/mobile banking login credentials. These scams frequently involve temporary job offers, such as mystery shopping or product evaluations.

Once the victim deposits the fake check using mobile deposit, it appears legitimate at first. However, the scammers overpay and then demand an immediate return of a portion of the funds using certified methods like cashier's checks, money orders, wire transfers, or gift cards. Eventually, the deposited check bounces as fraudulent, leaving the victim to bear the financial loss.

Types of mobile deposit scams:

  1. Job/Income Scam: Fake job advertisements, such as mystery shopping or online data entry positions, entice victims into depositing fraudulent checks. They are then instructed to send a portion of the funds elsewhere via wire transfer or money order.  Meanwhile, the check is fake, leaving the victim with a financial loss.

  2. Catfishing (fake dating profile): Scammers create fake online identities to gain victims' trust. They manipulate victims emotionally and financially by forming an illusion of a romantic or close relationship.

  3. Loan Scam: Fraudulent online loan scams trick victims into depositing fake checks, leading to financial loss.

  4. Fake Contests: Scammers contact victims via phone calls, emails, or letters, claiming they have won sweepstakes, lotteries, or cash prizes. They request payment for fees or taxes to claim the prize and often ask for wire transfers or gift card purchases. Mobile deposit fraud tactics may involve capturing account login information or promising better odds if personal information is provided.

  5. Remote Deposit Scams: Scammers gain access to victims' bank accounts and deposit fraudulent checks. They then ask victims to withdraw the funds and send them back through third-party money transfer services.

Take proactive measures to protect yourself:

  1. Trust your instincts: If an offer appears too good to be true, it probably is. Be cautious of requests for funds to be returned or demands for bank account or personal information. Avoid accepting payments when you're desperate or under pressure.

  2. Safeguard private information: Legitimate employers, friends, and contests will never ask for personal or account information in exchange for payment. Be wary of individuals or companies with no online presence requesting your information.

  3. Monitor account activity: Use mobile banking to regularly check your accounts, ensuring that expected payments are processed and spotting any suspicious or fraudulent transactions. Early detection is key to halting fraud.

  4. Maintain a skeptical mindset: Your instincts are your best defense against fraud. Assess whether the party you're engaged with, whether an employer, significant other, friend, or business affiliate, is behaving as expected and asking you to take reasonable risks. Pause and reassess your options if something feels off.

What to do if you suspect a scam:

Despite your best efforts, scammers can find ways to exploit you. If you suspect you've fallen victim to a mobile deposit scam, take immediate action:

  1. Report the scam to your local police department.

  2. Notify your financial institution promptly. They can implement additional safeguards on your account.

Remember, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instincts and remain vigilant. For more information on protecting your finances and online accounts, please contact us today.