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Fraud Watch February 2024: Which Scam Crooks Leap for Every Time

writing a check

Ah February. A month to celebrate all that we love, if only scam artists took a break. But that’s not the case. One of the oldest scams on the books is still a threat even in 2024: check fraud scams. This year alone, the attempted check fraud on BankSouth customers is over $173,000.00 between January 1, 2024 and February 15, 2024. Continue reading to learn how it works and how you can protect yourself.

Top 3 Ways to Keep Your Money Safe:

  1. Do not give your login credentials to anyone — including anyone claiming to be from BankSouth.
  2. Don’t share your personal information or account numbers. BankSouth and other financial institutions will never ask for your account number, personal information, or login credentials over the phone or email.
  3. Avoid clicking on any links in any unsolicited emails or text messages. When in doubt, don’t click.

Check Fraud Scams Still Being Reported

This is one of the oldest known crimes in finance that we’re still talking about in 2024. Since 2022, check fraud has increased 84%, and it’s considered low risk and high reward among criminals. One way check fraud is committed is when criminals steal physical checks from mailboxes and wash or forge them to change the name and amount. They use messaging apps like Telegram and WhatsApp to find people to go to banks to cash a portion of the original check’s value. Messaging apps such as Telegram and WhatsApp are encrypted message services with over 700 million users every month.

Did you know? Between 1/1/2024 and 2/15/2024, the attempted check fraud on BankSouth customers amounts to $173,681.49? That is only a six week timespan.

How to Avoid This Scam:

  • Consider using an electronic payment method such as your BankSouth debit card or person-to-person payments using your BankSouth app.
  • Use black gel pens to write checks – many gel pen manufacturers claim it can protect against check fraud.
  • If you do mail checks, try to drop if off directly at the post office.

What if this Occurs?

File a police report and contact your local BankSouth banker.

opening an online account from a laptopAccount Opening Help Scams

This may be a new one. Scammers pose as a helpful third party to offer help taxpayers set up online accounts for the IRS at IRS.gov. If successful, this gives the criminals your financial and personal information which will put you at risk of identity theft. This has also been known to happen for passport applicants seeking assistance applying for their passport.

How to Avoid This Scam:

  • Establish your own online account through the official website you need the account for; ex: IRS.gov.
  • Avoid sharing sensitive information or personal data with anyone (even your bank) over the phone, email, or social media messaging.

Online Romance Scambroken paper heart on a keyboard

In past years, online romance scams have resulted in the combined loss of $1.3 billion in a single year — average loss per person is over $4,000, according to the FTC. A scammer creates a fake profile on a dating website or app to establish a romantic relationship with their victim. Once trust is established, the crook creates a story to evoke sympathy or a sense of urgency so they can ask for their victim to send money. It could be anything from a medical emergency, travel expenses to meet in person, to a financial hardship. In addition to asking for money, the scammer may even ask for financial details putting you at risk for identity theft.

How to Avoid This Scam According to the FCC:

  • Be cautious when forming relationships online.
  • Do your best to keep from sharing financial information or sending any money to anyone you haven’t met in person.
  • Use trusted dating apps and websites that require photo verification.
  • Avoid anyone who is never able to meet in person, and only meet in a public place.

Stay Protected From Scams

We see fraud attempts almost every day. While we do our best to keep every customer protected, there are ways you can prevent fraud from happening to you.

Stay one step ahead and bookmark our help article on avoiding and reporting scams. We update this article regularly to keep you in the know of the latest scams.

  • Recently reported scams
  • Tips to avoid scams
  • How to report a scam
  • What we WILL and WILL NOT ask for to verify your identity

More tips to avoid fraud can be found here.


Source of scam information: nasdaq.com/articles/5-financial-scams-to-avoid-in-2024-as-expert-warns-fraud-has-reached-crisis-level and irs.gov/payments/your-online-account.

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