The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has send out a warning to the merchant community that a novel method of hoodwinking the business segment has been traced – as scamsters are attacking online and check payment of the B2C facility.
The Commission has received several complaints from officials, consumer advocates and business entrepreneurs who have fallen victim to the traps of these criminals. The striking highlight in the scam is that the new modus operandi appear so close to genuine, that it is tough to tell the fake from the real in its presentation.
The scam artists disguised as salespeople would make phone calls, send out text messages, ads and website content or even make personal visits to the doorstep of their prospective victims and claim that the federal government will pay their bills in exchange for a fee and personal information.
They give instructions to the listener on how to use bank accounts and routing numbers that do not belong to them, and make the online or check payments.
In one scheme, the fraudsters asked the people to use the routing number of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (0610-0014-6) to make both check and electronic payments through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network!
It is only much later that the merchant establishment owners will realize that they have been take for a ride, and those who have accepted the checks run the risk of not getting paid.
FTC has issued warning that the signs of a counterfeit check could be evident in the following ways :
- The routing number being 0610-0014-6; no perforated edge on one side of the paper will be visible
- There will be no security features like watermark
- The routing number may have less than the required nine digits
- The bank address listed on the check does not match the real address
- The paper itself may not have the proper feel to touch and will be a flimsy material
Merchant establishments that transact B2C payments, are cautioned by FTC, that if they receive any payment in the ACH mode or by check, cashier’s cheque or certified check from anyone with the routing number indicated above, they must immediately inform the authorities, or the National Association of Attorney Generals or the local office of the FBI or bank without fail.