Home > Uncategorized > Alert: Latest Banking Scam Reported By The OCC – Fake Checks Issued By Meridian Bank

Alert: Latest Banking Scam Reported By The OCC – Fake Checks Issued By Meridian Bank

Today I received a spam email from someone from a foreign country asking me to assist in collecting a $2.5 Million Debt. These scams are unfortunately very common. Maybe more so in the legal profession than any other profession – probably these  con-artists  are playing on the  presumed “greed” of lawyers 🙂

The way that these lawyer scams typically work is as follows: “Client” – the scammer –  retains attorney with a phony check – the check appears to clear the bank, and then “Client” asks attorneys to remit a certain percentage of funds to the client. After Attorney remits funds to the client, attorney gets notice that the Client’s initial check bounced. The OCC’s website reveals the reasons for this delay:  “When you deposit a fraudulent check into your account, the law requires your bank to make the funds available within a specific period of time even if the check has not yet cleared through the banking system”  http://www.occ.gov/topics/consumer-protection/fraud-resources/types-consumer-fraud.html#cashiers

My law firm once received such a check from a potential scammer for almost $1 Million – the scammer probably was hoping we couldn’t “resist the urge” and deposit the fake check. Fortunately, I was of the opinion that if its too good to be true, it probably is. The check made a great souvenir though.

The OCC reported today of one such  scam that consumers and banks should be on the look out for: A Fake Check  supposedly issued by Meridian Bank of Phoenix, AZ sent to individuals claiming they are lottery winners. According to the OCC:

The Fictitious checks presented to date have been made payable in the amount of $2,700.90 and are being mailed to potential victims along with correspondence containing the letterhead of “Trust Financier, 400 Orange Street, Bloomingdale, NY 07211; Tel: 1-905-781-0357.”

The letter informs the recipient that he or she is the winner of a lottery drawing in the amount of $55,000. The letter states that the check is being provided to the winner to pay the taxes due of $1,750. Recipients are further instructed to keep their winning status confidential and to contact Jason Sight at 1-905-781-0357 for additional information.

See the full report by the OCC at http://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/alerts/2013/alert-2013-17.html

Banks and consumers should be wary – if there is any doubt about the validity of a check, contact the OCC.  Again, if its too good to be true, it probably is.

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