After more than ten years, it is rare that I come upon a new scam, but today is one of those days. Recently in San Diego it has been reported that scammers are taking photos of cars and then posting them on social media indicating that the car has been stolen and that a thousand dollar reward is being offered for information about the whereabouts of the car. When people respond to the social media post with information about the “stolen” car, they are then instructed to provide their bank account number and bank routing number in order to have the reward sent to their bank account.
Unfortunately, once the scammer has your bank account number and the routing number for your bank which is used for wire transfers, they are able to use that information to make purchases where money is wired from your account and the goods purchased are sent to the scammer who then can sell the goods thereby laundering the proceeds of the scam. Some scammers will even use your banking information to set up recurring payments such as for utilities.
Never give your bank account information to anyone or any company that you have not thoroughly researched to make sure that they are legitimate. In fact, if you are a bit paranoid, like me (remembering even paranoids have enemies) you can avoid the problem altogether by not providing your bank account information to anyone and have payments sent to you by a check.
If, however, you do become a victim of this type of scam where a scammer has your bank account information, freeze your accounts immediately and notify the police and the fraud department of your bank. Change your online banking password and make sure you are using dual factor authentication as well.
The good news is that for this type of wiring of funds fraud, you are not liable for the money withdrawn from your account if you notify the bank within 60 days of when you receive your monthly statement. Frankly you should notify your bank within 60 seconds of receiving your monthly statement indicating the crime. Banks are required to investigate the crime promptly and replace the money into your account within one business day of determining that the loss of funds from your account was fraudulent.
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