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CU Stops Fraudulent Cashier’s Check; Saves Member from Losing Thousands of Dollars
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 6:55 AM

An out-of-work Pasadena resident thought she got lucky when she received in the mail a cashier’s check for $6,500 and a letter informing her that she had been hired for a personal assistant position. The letter informed her that she would earn $500 a week working from home.  It also instructed her to deposit the cashier’s check into her personal checking account, so that she could then write personal checks for her new employer.  

According to Wendy McMillian, office manager at Shared Resources CU, the woman deposited the cashier’s check into her new credit union account. Fortunately she was not able to write any personal checks for her new employer because she hadn’t yet received her checkbook.

Although the cashier’s check looked official (the check had a watermark, two signatures, a routing number and account number, etc.), McMillian saw some red flags. For one, McMillian noticed that the number sequence for the account number looked off.  Also, there was no remitter on the check. 

The credit union put a hold on the check, and once confirmed, notified the member that the cashier’s check was in fact fraudulent.  McMillian said the member came into the credit union and showed them the letter she had received from her “new employer.”  The letter, McMillian said, was fraught with misspellings.

The member attempted to call her “new employer;” however, when she told him of the issue with the cashier’s check, he suddenly had a bad phone connection.

McMillian shares this story in the hopes of preventing other unsuspecting members from falling prey to this type of scam.

Counterfeit checks are a huge problem for financial institutions and consumers.  Counterfeit checks cause headaches for financial institutions, and financial loss to the consumer accepting and depositing a counterfeit check, as it is the depositor’s responsibility to verify that a check is good.

Consumers can help avoid financial loss by knowing and understanding that financial institutions often take up to 10 days or more to determine if a cashier's check is counterfeit.  Therefore, consumers should not spend any of the funds until the financial institution confirms that the funds from the check have been deposited into their account. Consumers should understand that they are responsible for any funds they withdraw against that check.