I was Scammed!
How Bad Players Rig the Game
I am recent victim of bank fraud. A bad player scanned my check issued to the federal government to pay taxes, and rewrote the name, amount, and signature and attempted to deposit it.
Figure 1. Fraudulent check
Presumably, the bad player attempted to electronically deposit this check. To recreate this check in paper form is relatively more difficult in 2022 than 2000. (This is an ongoing investigation and I am still in contact with Bank of America. As more information becomes available, I will share on my substack.)
Here is what is correct on this scanned version of the fraudulent check:
Check number 5177. In actuality, this check number was issued to US Treasury in the amount of $23,133.50.
Names. This is mine and my wife’s names.
Address. For privacy purposes, I blacked out this info.
Routing number and account number. For privacy purposes, I blacked out this info.
Design. The actual background design is Pebble Beach Golf Course.
Figure 2. Picture of an actual check #5178
Here’s what is incorrect about the fraudulent check:
Dollar amount. The amount shown is $10,000 less. The bad player knowing that a good standing account will clear the original check, he/she (HE! Definitely a HE!) writes a new amount less than the original check.
Figure 3. Scan of check #5178
Using the app Tiny Scanner, this is the image quality of the scan (Figure 3). Presuming the bad player was able to digitally recreate the original check in high-resolution and full color, then HIS mobile camera may have scanned the check as shown above in Figure 1 to a “believable” degree, thereby allowing the pending transfer of funds and a successful scam.
What is unknown?
I know there is an attempt to commit fraud on me. The end goal of this fraud is for the bad player to receive $13K from me, not get caught, and eventually re-circulate that money into the economy.
The two ways the bad player could have pulled this off would be the following:
Cash the check in a branch. To cash this check in a branch would require so much professionalism to execute. In this manner, this guarantees a successful fraud.
Mobile check deposit. This is the rationale and strategy I have outlined above, and believe to have been pursued.
A mobile check deposit still carries layers of time that do not make all the funds available immediately. There is a small portion of the funds that do become available immediately, but this amounts to $500 (or something like that).
So the bad player acts to commit fraud worth $500? This is what is unknown.
How does a bad player secure the $13K?
So what happens now?
Per Bank of America policy, this fraudulent activity is fully insured and I am guaranteed a full reimbursement.
However, Bank of America asked for me to freeze my account. Freezing my account means any electronic debits will not have any restrictions, and transact normally. Any transfers or withdrawals constitute restricted activity, and each activity needs to be pre-approved (the very friendly bank representative indicated that pre-approve means to call in or I imagine respond to text approvals).
Bad players won’t stop me. Take 24% off and become a subscriber to the good-guy freelancing economy.
Bank of America vs FDIC
This is the matchup that shows how the game is played and how it’s rigged.
The FDIC guarantees up to $250,000 for each depositor. There is no stipulation on how many fraudulent acts can be committed against you. However, Bank of America has alternative plans that conflicts with the FDIC.
Bank of America’s policy is to offer to their customer the ability to add a freeze to their account. This freeze entails providing pre-approvals for any outgoing activity such as transfers or withdrawals. There are no restrictions or abnormalities when it comes to debits.
If you choose to opt out of this freeze, Bank of America states that they may not be responsible for any further reimbursements that arise from fraudulent activity. How can this be? This flies directly in the face of the FDIC mandate.
So how is the game rigged?
This type of scam is everything that is wrong when big banks and big government collide. Big government ensures $250,000 for depositors. Big banks aren’t liable for losses incurred by the fraudulent activity, AND they still find ways to ensure they are not on the hook for any future losses by telling you if you opt out of a freeze program, then the bank may not be held responsible for reimbursements.
The bad player who masterminded this scam gets off scotch free. Presuming he was successful in obtaining the $13K, then these funds are appropriated to all tax payers.
This scam is conducted by professional scammers, which includes people working at the US Post Office. And no matter where you look, you are always looking in the wrong direction because big government insures your money, big banks handle your money, tax payers are on the hook for your money, and nobody knows who the bad player is. And frankly, it just doesn’t matter because one bad player lost today means there’s a future opportunity for a similar scam for another bad player. The game goes round and round.
What can you do to prevent a scam?
There’s not a whole lot of substantive actions that you can take. Naturally, you want to protect your financial and personally identifiable information as much as you possibly can. The other thing that can be done is to stay vigilant and regularly check your bank account (especially for the next 45 days after Tax Day) as well as any outbound communication from your bank.
Because of the protection provided by the FDIC, you can sleep easier knowing that you will get reimbursed.
Stay tuned for more updates…
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I incorrectly said that Bank of America in connection with the FDIC reimburses customers for fraudulent activity. This is wrong. Bank of America reimburses the fraud, while the FDIC insures deposits should a bank become insolvent.