Recent Fraud & Scam Alerts – What to Watch Out For

Personal Finance | 08.14.2023
Protecting your financial information is our top priority and a responsibility we take seriously. From the Bank’s own security practices to equipping Merchants staff with the resources they need to help our customers fight fraud, we know it takes a team effort. That’s why we’re also asking you to get involved. Make sure you’re up to date with the most recent fraud and scam alerts to do your part to keep your personal information secure.

Check Cashing Fraud

Merchants helps customers recognize fraudulent checks. When you receive a check make sure to consider where it came from, including both the person who sent it and how it was sent. More recently, it’s been common for fraudsters to use the direct message (dm) feature in social media apps, like Instagram, to reach out to unsuspecting victims and start a conversation that leads to asking for help cashing a check.
Before you get duped, ask yourself these questions:
  • Was I expecting this check?
  • Can I verify the information on the check through a third-party like an online directory or company website?
  • Is the person who sent me the check asking me to deposit it and return a portion of the funds?
  • Does it sound too good to be true?
Be a skeptic. If the situation doesn’t sound right, it’s time to do some more investigating before cashing or depositing that check. We encourage you to bring the check in and discuss where it came from with your local Teller or Customer Service Representative. We want to do everything we can to help protect your money and financial accounts so we’ll likely ask you more questions about the check and the circumstances involved to help determine if the check is legitimate or if it seems suspicious. 

Computer Pop Up Scam

Have you heard of this scam? You are on your computer when a pop-up warns that your computer is compromised. If you don't act now, your computer will crash. Offering to help, a scammer dials into your computer to try "fix" the issue, meanwhile gathering your personal information. Sometimes, the scammers require a payment to "fix" the computer or will use threats to get you to send them money. In the end, the scammers have what they wanted all along. Please be on the lookout for this scam to protect your private information.

Stolen Mail

We'd like to remind all customers to be cautious when sending or receiving personal information, bank account information or checks through the mail. If you're expecting something to arrive and it doesn't, check on it - balance your checkbook to make sure all checks clearing your account are for the amount you issued.
Fraudsters will steal your mail - like a check payment you’re sending for your credit card bill - and use it to create a fraudulent check. If you leave outgoing mail in your mailbox with the flag up, it’s a clear signal to fraudsters to check your mailbox for items they can use.
To protect yourself or your business, follow these tips:
  • Take outgoing mail to post office collection boxes or the post office. Don’t leave mail in your home mailbox with the red flag up.
  • Promptly remove mail that arrives in your mailbox. If you won’t be home for several days, request a vacation hold on your mail or have a trusted family member or neighbor pick it up for you.
  • When you order new checks, don’t have them mailed to your home, unless you have a secure mailbox with a lock.

Next Steps If You’ve Experienced Fraud

If you think your bank account information has been compromised or you are a victim of identity theft, contact your local Merchants Bank and ask to speak to a Customer Service Representative.

Peace of Mind with Our Fraud Apps

Use our fraud apps to help you stay on top of your transactions with custom alerts, the ability to turn your cards on and off and more.

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