Local Scammers Use Social Media to Borrow Bank Accounts
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit recently identified a pattern of suspicious behavior involving local individuals targeting friends, high school acquaintances and friends of friends via social media in an attempt to defraud them of their hard-earned money. Using Facebook, Instagram, and Snap Chat the suspects are contacting their victims, claiming they do not have a bank account and need help to send money to a friend or family member offering to pay the victim for using their bank account.
Once the victim shares their bank account and log in information, the suspect deposits a fraudulent check via the banks mobile app and immediately begins withdrawing funds at a variety of locations using various methods leaving the victim’s account in the negative. When the bank returns the check as fraudulent, the victims are the ones, in the end, who have lost money.
Sadly, because the victims willingly provided their account information to another person, the banks hold the victims responsible for the fraudulent check and lost money. Along with losing money, it may result in lost banking privileges and negatively affect the victim’s credit scores.
To keep from becoming a victim of this scam, follow these simple steps:
- Do not give your bank account, PIN number, or password information to anyone.
- Do not allow anyone to access your bank account.
- Do not allow people to deposit any checks into your account.
- Do not cash checks for other people; there are businesses and banks who cash checks.
Checks may take up to 10-days to officially clear all financial institutions; so, even though your bank may make the funds available to you, the check can still be returned as fraudulent at a later date.
The Lee County Sheriff's Office encourages everyone to keep in mind that if you would not lend an individual money then you certainly should not give him or her access to your bank account. In the end, you will be held responsible for any misuse or fraudulent use of your account.
For additional information about this scam, contact the Fraud Line at 258-3292.