Types of Consumer Fraud
Scammers take advantage of the trust people place in cashier's checks to steal money from your account or to avoid paying you for goods and services. It is difficult to detect fraudulent cashier's checks. When you deposit a fraudulent check into your account, the law requires your bank to make the funds available within a specific period of time even if the check has not yet cleared through the banking system. Once the check is returned unpaid, your bank, generally, can reverse the deposit to your account and collect the amount of the deposit from you. To learn more, read Avoiding Cashier's Check Fraud and Answers about Cashier's Checks.
Banks operating without a license or charter in the United States or any other country are operating in an unauthorized manner. When we are notified of a fictitious bank, we may issue an alert. The individual alerts can be found on our internet site. If you have information pertaining to such an institution, please contact us at OCCAlertResponses@occ.treas.gov; in writing at Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Enforcement & Compliance Division, 400 7th Street SW, Suite 3E-218, Washington, D.C. 20219; or by phone at (202) 649-6200.
High Yield Investment Fraud (Prime Bank Fraud)
High yield investment fraud, also called prime bank fraud, involves issuing or trading prime bank, prime European bank, or prime world bank financial instruments that do not, in fact, exist. Fraudulent individuals or companies promise their victims huge profits with little risk if they invest in these instruments. Promoters use fake documents that appear legitimate and often claim to have special access to investment programs that ordinarily are available only to top financiers in the world’s financial centers. Fraudsters claim to have secret or insider knowledge to share with a select few and use that premise to cloak their operations in secrecy. To learn more, read How Prime Bank Frauds Work. If you suspect that someone has approached you with a fraudulent investment opportunity, visit the Enforcement Complaint Center on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Web site.
Identity theft is a serious crime. It occurs when someone uses your personal information, such as your name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. You should review your credit report and credit card statements often to verify that you made the charges shown. To learn more, read OCC’s Answers about Identity Theft, If You Become a Victim of Identity Theft, and Identity Theft on the FTC Web site.
Fraudsters are always looking for ways to get your personal or financial information. When they use the Internet to do that, it’s called phishing. These scam artists send e-mail or pop-up messages that might alert you to a problem with your account or state that you have a refund waiting. Some of these messages appear to come from legitimate companies. To learn more, read Internet Pirates are Trying to Steal Your Personal Financial Information.