Ga. CU advises how to beat fake check scams

January 22, 2015

WARRENVILLE, S.C. (1/23/15)--Love hurts. Though in the case of one South Carolina resident, it can also hurt financially.

Health Center CU, Augusta, Ga., with $49 million in assets, was recently tapped by a local news station to give expertise about fake checks after a woman was tricked into wiring money overseas.

Tina Stephens, a resident of Warrenville, S.C., had recently struck up an online romance with someone from Nigeria who claimed to be a member of the military (WRDW-TV Jan. 21).

One day, Stephens received a message from this individual saying he had the opportunity to come home, but could not pay for the trip because he had lost his debit card.

Stephens then gave him her routing and checking account information, and soon after a check for $5,200 appeared in her account, which she then wired overseas to this individual.

But the check the individual had deposited into her account was fake and, with her legitimate money gone, it left Stephens on the hook for the full amount.

"If you deposit a bad check into your account and your financial institution receives that check back, you have to make good on it," Stacy Tallent, Health Center CU president/CEO, told WRDW-TV.

Tallent also said that it can be difficult to spot fake checks, however, even for tellers.

"The quality of these checks are getting to be so good," he said.

Tallent listed the following clues for consumers who are suspicious of a check's validity:

  • The check is printed on poor quality paper;
  • The check lacks a watermark; and
  • The check does not have an address for the bank it has been drawn on.

Health Center CU also offers additional information on how to avoid being scammed online or with fake checks on its website.