Every day, we read about financial frauds and crimes in the newspaper or on social media. And these crimes aren't limited to a particular country. If you're moving to the US, here are some financial crimes to watch out for.
Generally, you should refund any excess payments made to you, but not if the check or money order is counterfeit. If you are into online selling, you could be a victim of financial fraud. The buyer pays you a higher amount than the selling price and tricks you into refunding the excess amount. When you refund these fake checks, you not only pay the bank a return check fee but lose the amount you wire to the buyer. To prevent losing your money, find out more about such scams from FinCEN or Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a regulatory body in the US that combats money laundering and terrorist financing.
Helping someone who doesn't have an account in your bank encash a check may seem harmless. However, you might end up losing your hard-earned money if the check is fake. If the check does not clear after several days, it's too late, and you can't recover your money. So don't encash checks for unknown people to avoid such types of financial fraud.
Unsolicited check in the mail
An unexpected refund or rebate check is not a windfall, and you should read the fine print before depositing it. This check can be a down payment for a loan, a membership, or any other long-term liability with hefty penalties for non-payment. Check FinCEN files to find out if there are any suspicious activity reports involving your bank.
Automatic withdrawal frauds
Being told that you've won a lottery isn't always a cause for celebration. Sometimes, you'll be asked to verify your bank details to qualify for the lottery amount. Asking for an upfront payment is a part of advanced fee fraud. Sharing personal information in such cases can lead to you losing your money as scammers use your details on a demand draft against your account, and the bank pays out the money.
If you don't check the transactions in your account regularly, chances are you won't detect this financial fraud until it is too late.
Americans have lost millions of dollars as victims of this financial crime where they are required to submit personal information through a link. Ignore such emails even if they say it's from FinCEN since they don't send emails asking for personal information.
They might talk about suspicious activity in your account to trick you, but you need to verify the email before responding.
Scams using government identity
Some scammers pose as government officials and either inform you about a prize you have won or threaten you for non-payment of a debt. You need to know that no federal agency will ask for payment for any money crimes.
Exercise your judgment. If you have never received a call from federal authorities, it's unlikely you'll receive one suddenly. If you receive such a call, lodge a complaint to the proper authorities quoting the caller's name or other identification details.
If you want to donate to charity, choose one that is genuine. Unfortunately, some scammers impersonate charities to dupe you. Protect yourself from such financial crimes by checking directly with the charitable organization.
Fake employment offers
A job offer that's too good to be true can land you in trouble. Advance fee fraud, also known as 419 fraud, is an international fraud originating in Nigeria. You are promised a job, provided you pay an upfront fee. Job sites also register these companies, and the information seems authentic. They send persuasive emails asking for your bank details so that your commission can be transferred.
Don't let a banking scam derail your career or education, and follow the suggestions discussed here. Block any unknown numbers or email I.D.s so that you don't give scammers access to your banking information.