Payments you didn’t authorize could be a scam

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Usually, when I pay with a check, I write it out and sign it, or I direct my bank to send it on my behalf. But what if a check is drawn on my account but I didn’t write it, sign it, or tell my bank to send it? It can happen if someone has your bank account number: they can use your number to create a check that takes money out of your account. Now, if you’d already agreed to the charges, there’s no problem. But what if you didn’t? That means this check is part of a scam – which is what the FTC says happened in a case announced today.

The FTC sued several companies and individuals for allegedly taking millions of dollars out of people’s accounts using remotely created checks – without the account owners’ authorization. The defendants had websites and made telemarketing calls that offered short-term loans and cash advances to people with bad credit. To get access to that money, people gave their bank account information. But the FTC says the defendants actually signed people up for online discount membership clubs – and charged for them. People had not agreed to that, and it only made their situations worse. When people complained to the company, the FTC says the defendants lied to confuse people into thinking they had, in fact, approved those charges.

Here are three things you can do to outsmart scammers.

  1. Stop before you put your account information in a website. Ask yourself: who, exactly, am I dealing with? Can I trust them? What will they do with my information? Dishonest people may use your bank or credit card information to take your money, or sell your information to others who’ll do the same.
  2. Review your bank account and credit card statements carefully. Check for charges you don’t recognize, remember agreeing to, or that you didn’t authorize – especially if you recently applied for a loan or credit.
  3. Tell your bank or credit card company immediately if you see a check or charge you don’t recognize. If the unauthorized charge is part of a scam, telling your bank and the FTC might help stop the scammers.
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

Re: Thank you (U.S.(FTC)).

Im very appreciative of this important information.

Keep it coming to Me !

James

You're wecome! Share this blog to people you know so they can be alert to these type of situations, too. And if you see fraud in your community, you can help stop it by reporting it to the FTC at ftc.gov/compaint.

Thank you.

I reported ADT alarm compaNY to my bank and FTC, no one helped me, ADT received over a thousand dollars from my account, I received no alarm service during this time. I even cancelled service, they still received money from my bank account. Sad to be scammed.

I had an experience with 3 lost credit cards and they were used and also paid off 3 times with someone's bank account . Now the credit card companies are after me. They say they have recordings of me and my wife from the card companies paying off the balances those times.

I discovered that I had significant charges to my bank account based upon some trial software. These charges were not accepted by me. This is a type of "Bait and Switch," technique, whereby you try the software, without realizing a continued, high price charge occurs. The trial was one week, which resulted in a charge per month. I notified the company I do not want nor did I agree to pay a monthly charge. They did not respond, thereby I placed a stop order, with my bank.

This has happen to with this company named Max Lend they just tried to with drawn a large amount of funds from my account. So what can I do?

Tell your bank or credit card company immediately if you see a check or charge you don’t recognize. If the unauthorized charge is part of a scam, telling your bank and the FTC might help stop the scammers.

Both banks and credit card companies have an option to alert you and get your acceptance if they get a transaction over what you set up for your account.

Great Article

Thank you for this information please convey this information to AARP or to seniors via Medicare/ Social Security.
They have become vulnerable to these scams

Good idea to partner with AARP. Is that something the FTC would consider?

Yes, we work with many organizations to try to spread the word to this community and others. If you want to help spread out the word to older Americans, check out the FTC campaign Pass it On.

Thank you!

Yesterday recived call from USS Mediation trying to get $$ from me for someone in my household being sued.This is fraud ,they gave a case number ,
The call was recived from Jupiter,Florida.

Too bad the companies that advertise heavily to entice consumers to order a product and that initial order commits them to a monthly highly elevated price to receive the product whether they want it or not. They make it difficult to cancel these misleading product subscriptions. Now that same kind of promotion is done with magazine subscriptions. You subscribe to a magazine for one year and they automatically enroll you in auto renewal. I have seen several seniors be taken advantage of by this racket. They no longer read the magazine or want it but are being charged for it and they find it difficult to stop it. Once these compani3es have account information they will use it to continue to be paid for products no longer wanted nor needed. Even if you are able to cancel, they have usually sent and charged an inflated price for the additional items you do not want.

This is important information for all of us. We need to be aware of all of the scams out there. With your emails, I have been kept up to date.

I am curious to know what is the law regarding getting a credit back from the bank in these kind of scenarios.

my bank just filed on my behalf and then refunded me and now is dealing with the company that took my money and sent me crap and missing items and will not respond to my request for refund info. Do no trust any of these new companies on FB. They are awful...stick to Target, HSN, MACYS, etc...trusted companies. Technology is destroying us...good luck

This is good information. Thank you for keeping us informed.

Due to a catastrophic divorce (at the age of 65, retired and on a fixed income with the inability to be hired for employment as soon as they calculate my age of 71) I fell into many scams. My bad credit ratings and am having financial difficulty. I bank at Randolph Brooks Federal Credit Union. Fraud has put a flag on my account and therefore I am unable to have the convenience and "on the spot" availability of knowing each day what my account is doing. I have many direct pay accounts. (yes I get a paper statement but by then it is too late) The reason Fraud has flagged my account is because a fraud check of $4,000 and some odd amount was sent to my account - I understood fraud to say they had all of my account information (which I have never provided to anyone). This bogus check was from Uganda (I believe). Many of the scams that occurred in 2010, 2011 came from those countries. I was expecting money from an acquaintance who was probably a scammer and not working where he told me he was working. HOWEVER, I had NO IDEA this was to happen. Fortunately the bank intercepted the check before it was deposited into my account. I am very grateful for that. Of course Fraud has all of this conversation on tape and they concluded I KNEW I WAS RECEIVING THIS BOGUS CHECK which is not true. The end result is I can no longer access my account on line. This is most distressing. How can you help me? I so need your help.....

You could sign up for scam alerts to stay informed about new frauds, or report fraud to the FTC. You might like to talk with a credit counselor about your finances. Some credit unions, universities, and Cooperative Extension Services have credit counselors who meet with people.

Thank you for this information.

This information is very helpful. scammers continue to thrive on individuals who don't pay attention to their bank statements or monitor their accounts. I will be passing this along

Just weeks ago, after agreeing to my payment to pay the balance of 113.08 to American Home Patient, on a conference call with the FLBLUE/Medicare Grievance rep, I proceeded to make a payment -- on their pay site.
There was no invoice number on the statement, but an account number. With that, I proceeded to the pay screen which instructed me to highlight the invoice number (of the 6 products I wanted to pay). Clicked on top line, highlighted it and the corresponding amount $11.-- was then highlighted in blue! Proceeded to pay ONLY that amount. Gave debit info. Continued to confirmation page with thank you and no amount confirmed. American HOME Patient took the entire balance of 113.08 without my authorization. Since forced return of balance without the authorized payment. They returned all as a REFUND as I had made a mistake; accidently overpaid. Reported them I hope for the last time!! Anyone with AHP, REPORT!

Thank you for your continued information/updates on these fraud issues.

Thanks, I had 6 lines and 6 invoice numbers with the product name and corresponding amount to pay. Instructions stated to highlight the line invoice you want to pay and the amount was then highlighted. I did one line. Continue to my debit information, paid, confirmation thank you to learn they took the entire balance without my authorization. It has been reported but their response was I made a mistake, accidently and refunded the full amount at my request. Happy to report the details and thank you for now I do not feel alone.

Through a scam outfit, a well known bank (Chase) used my credit card without my knowledge or authorization to put $12,000 on my credit card. To date, I have refused to pay this amount and they have not been able to provide proof of any signature or authorization. YOU HAVE TO BE SOOO CAREFUL.

Also, if someone is trying to use your bank debit card number to charge to your bank account, the bank can easily provide you with a new debit card number within about 5 minutes and it won't negatively impacting your bank account.

I check my account every morning online. One day I found 7 charges to my debit card of $50 each for a total of $350 by some company called Ali Express. The bank said they were from China.Had to get a new debit card and the bank reversed the charges and investigated on their own.That $350 was part of my bill money!!

Thank you for your information !!!

I got scammed trying to sell some furniture on Craigs list for $320.00 and I keep getting offers even after I have closed down my account from Craiglist. If you sell something on Ebay or Craigs List and they say they are from out of town, report that message to spam because it is a scam. Thought it would never happen to me. Now I trust no one.

thanks, I always read your Info's...I check my CC and Bank daily in the morning and once late afternoon.
the comments are very interesting to and one can learn..
thanks again

Some banks (mine is B of A, they call it "ShopSafe") offer one-time use credit card numbers which can be used for either online or phone orders -- you set both the expiration date and the dollar limit for each number, so there is never a chance that more than the authorized amount will be charged.

Thanks for this great information. More banks may want ot offer such a service to their customers to help prevent fraud which costs us all.

Two months ago a check was written on my account it was for the exactly what my payment was for allied cash. I didn't know the phone number it was for a flower shop in kentucky.rported it to my bank and got money back Alliedcash had more than me hacked made no effort to help me.

great, THANK YOU,
but if some one claim a check after 45 days, is this possible?

I keep getting calls I can tell is a recording saying "because of serious criminal actions being taken against me", I need to call a phone number they give but it doesn't say why. I've received the call about 3 times now and know it's a scam so I just hang up now. I know they're going to try to get money from me if I call the number they leave.

How reliable is PayPal? That is my worry because I have it linked to a credit card and so far haven't seen a problem. And I do have Chase accounts, too. I feel I need to stop everything but these days, life is done online for most things.

I was applying for jobs and posted a resume on a few job search websites. i was contacted by a company called mpower surveys. I have a few friends that have done "mystery shopping " in the past and when i received the info from them it al sounded pretty legit. Little did I know the check I deposited was FRAUDULENT but because i signed the back of out my bank is telling memI authorized the transaction. I now owe my bank $3000 for "assignments" that I had done for this company. I am greatful for this website now and seeing all the scam artists out there. i just wish I found this website sooner.. SURVEY MPOWER , llc is the company bar that did this. The checks were from CORE COMSTRUCTION out of Frisco, Tx-

Please investigate Address based in Md. They charged 1,000 to one cc and 500 to the other without my consent. They also took 500 from my checking acct!!! They DID NOT do tge work they were contracted to do, plus there us no signature of mine on the contract!!! Both Cc plan on getting back the 4k they already scammed me out of. Unfortunately the 1k i paid them in May is lost, according to the bank

If you believe that you've been defrauded, please report it to the FTC at www.ftc.gov/complaint. Your report helps us stop fraud. Thank you.

If any of these scams happen to you, change your credit cards immediately. Do the same with any open account with stores, banks, etc. Talk personally to the fraud division of their organization. Notify the three credit agencies and ask them to put a freeze on your credit. No one can get credit in your name without you being contacted. Contact the local law enforcement agency and file a complaint. If you are over 60, the scammers have committed two felonies. Nail everything down so that even if they try to use your information, they will get caught by someone's database or one of the credit agencies! I guess you can guess it happened to me, and I am over 60...71st birthday!

Sorry that happened to you but i didn't reacived no check or sign anything. They need to stop these scam and arrest them thank you for letting me know

thanks a lot

The next generation is more then good to have this notice. Your reaching out to them gives me a place where I can have good standing in their livelihood.

Stay good.

I bought A junk flooded car and it broke down on me, not only did the crooked dealer take my money with me filling complaint after complaint with no avail

We’ve written several posts about flood-damaged cars. If you suspect a dealer knowingly sold a storm-damaged car or a salvaged vehicle as a good-condition used car, contact your auto insurance company, local law enforcement agency, or the NICB at (800) TEL-NICB (835-6422). You’ll help someone else avoid a rip-off. For more information, please the FTC post, Shopping for a car? Be alert for flood damage.

I recently contact my credit union regarding unauthorized and unidentified charges from my account. I was told that since the charges had been automatically debited from account since June, unaware to me, I had to contact the company to dispute the charges before my credit union would investigate. I have been calling the 800 number and never have been able to get anyone on the phone. What can I do next ?

If the company has a website, check to see if they have an email address or online form you can fill out to make contact.

I wrote about what to do (above). I was scammed by browsing unknown stores on the internet. Somehow my computer was infected with ransomware or virus. My screen and computer froze. It has what techs call, "blue screen of death." Watch out for cookies and other things you don't recognize or initiate .

The same happened to me. Computer and tablet froze. And a sudden notice that I was hacked. A company Softwarient Solutions in Philadelphia called me saying they were security for Amazon. They wanted me to buy their security software and they would restore all. Well, they got $120 from me I was very lucky there was nothing important on the machines. How are they able to freeze a computer? was very young on Friday and $60 on Sun operating at least

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