WARNING: Beware of Fake Jersey Shore Federal Credit Union Checks

WARNING: Beware of Fake Jersey Shore Federal Credit Union Checks
These fake checks are being used for Mystery Shoppers scams.
Recently, residents in other states are receiving fake Jersey Shore Federal Credit Union checks that state they are payable through MID-Atlantic FCU.  It is sent with a letter from ebay or another legitimate company and the person is instructed to deposit the checks in their active checking account within the first 24 hours to get $100 extra wage bonus. The assignment instructions are to evaluate retailers by getting gift cards or using money transfer services like Western Union or Walmart MoneyGram.  You get to keep a certain portion of the check for expenses, evaluation, shopping taxes, compensation, and the bonus if you acted quickly.  Once the checks are discovered to be fake, the bank will reverse the deposit, and you are left responsible for the funds you used to purchase the gift cards or to wire money.  

Why Do These Scams Work? 

These scams work because fake checks generally look just like real checks. They are often printed with the names and addresses of legitimate financial institutions, as in the case of these Mystery Shopper checks. Often because of the large amount of the check, your bank may call to verify the check with us and stop the scam once the check is confirmed as fraudulent.

Fake Checks and Your Bank 

By law, banks have to make deposited funds available quickly, usually within two to five days. When the funds are made available in your account, the bank may say the check has "cleared,” but that doesn’t mean it’s a good check. Fake checks can take weeks to be discovered and untangled. By that time, the scammer has any money you sent, and you’re stuck paying the money back to the bank. 

How to Avoid a Fake Check Scam 

Never use money from a check to send gift cards, money orders, or wire money to strangers. Many scammers demand that you send money through money transfer services like Western Union or MoneyGram, or buy gift cards and send them the PIN numbers. Once you wire money or give someone the gift card PINs, it is like giving someone cash. It’s almost impossible to get it back. 

What to Do If You Sent Money to a Scammer 

Gift cards are for gifts, not payments. Anyone who demands payment by gift card is always a scammer. If you paid a scammer with a gift card, tell the company that issued the card right away. When you contact the company, tell them the gift card was used in a scam. Ask them if they can refund your money. If you act quickly enough, the company might be able to get your money back. Also, tell the store where you bought the gift card as soon as possible.   

The Federal Trade Commission published a list of gift cards that scammers often use with information to help report a scam.  If the card you used is not on this list, you might find the gift card company’s contact information on the card itself, or you might need to do some research online.   If you wired money to a scammer, call the money transfer company immediately to report the fraud and file a complaint. You can reach the complaint department of MoneyGram at 1-800-MONEYGRAM (1-800-666-3947) or Western Union at 1-800-325-6000. Ask for the money transfer to be reversed. It’s unlikely to happen, but it’s important to try as soon as possible.   If you paid a scammer with a money order, contact the company that issued the money order right away to see if you can stop payment. Also, try to stop delivery of the money order: if you sent it by U.S. mail, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455. Otherwise, contact whatever delivery service you used as soon as possible.  

Where to Report Fraud 

If you think you’ve been targeted by a fake check scam, report it to your local law enforcement agency and The Federal Trade CommissionOpens in New Window.  Also, please take a photo of the letter, check, and envelope it arrived in to assist us in stopping this scam.  Please email the photos to:  Operations@jerseyshorefcu.org.  Your assistance will be greatly appreciated and may help to prevent others from falling prey to this scam.