Monday, January 30, 2012

Fake Checks

Fake checks continue to circulate throughout the country. How can you spot a good check from a bad check? Not easily. The technology of printers today allow thieves to print off good copies of legitimate checks. This is why check holds on deposits are much more common now.

The best method of identifying a possible counterfeit check is by looking at the reasons on why the check was received in the first place. Strangers don't send checks for thousands of dollars to other strangers for no reason. If a check recipient is asked to send part of the check proceeds back to the stranger for any reason, there is a 99.9% chance that the check is a counterfeit item. Mystery shopper programs, sweepstakes and lottery contests, inheritance gifts from long lost (and unknown) relatives, payroll processing job offers using a consumer's personal account, and Internet sales where the buyer sends more than is needed for the purchase price are all examples of scams involving counterfeit checks.

Victims of these scams often say later that they had a bad or uneasy feeling about the fake checks being negotiated. They convince themselves though that the official check and overnight mail package could only have come from a "legitimate" entity. These same victims also refer to official looking websites and mail correspondence that looks like the real thing. Criminals can copy and reproduce anything. They try to build confidence in the victim's mind that the offer being presented is the real deal. Sadly, greed is also a contributing factor to many of these fake check scams as the victims are promised easy money for their efforts.

Don't be a victim. Ask your credit union or financial institution to research the item and be sure to provide all information about how the check was received. Depositing a counterfeit check item is a crime so be sure that all check items are legitimate BEFORE they are deposited.

The website below provides excellent resources and information regarding fake check scams;

Monday, January 9, 2012

Scholarship Money from NAECU

Our annual scholarship contest is underway with $1,500 being available for our 1st place winner and $750 being available for our 2nd place winner. The scholarship application is available at any office or online at the link provided below. The deadline for submitting the completed scholarship application is Monday, April 2, 2012. (The form states April 1st but since April 1st falls on a Sunday we will accept applications through the following day).

The essay portion of the scholarship this year will be a typed essay of at least 250 words on "How can financial institutions improve their value to consumers?".

We would encourage our members who are graduating high school this semester to apply for the available scholarship money. Keep in mind that all students of public or private schools in Madison, Morgan, or Limestone Counties are eligible for credit union membership with North Alabama Educators Credit Union.

Best of luck to all scholarship candidates! Here is the credit union page for additional information and the scholarship application;