Fifth Third Bank

Consumer Payments Fraud

A skimmer has been installed on your neighborhood ATM. You go to this ATM to withdraw cash for the weekend.   The skimmer copies your card information and the hidden camera captures your PIN as you enter it.   Using the captured information, the fraudster clones your credit card and begins paying bills using that cloned credit card.

What is Payments Fraud?

Payments fraud occurs when an individual uses one of several payment devices (e.g., checks, credit cards, etc.) to conduct fraud and steal your money. The most common types of payments fraud include:

  • Check Fraud
  • Wire Fraud
  • ACH Fraud
  • Card Fraud

How Does Check Fraud Work?

There are several different types of check fraud that consumers need to be aware of. They include:

  • Counterfeit checks – Checks are reproduced, utilizing information from legitimate accounts, usually by means of high quality copiers, scanners or desktop publishing software. Counterfeit checks have varying degrees of quality, with some instances being almost identical replicas to the original check, including the check stock itself.
  • Altered checks – Checks that have been altered in some way with chemicals or other means so that the valid information can be erased and the checks can be re-written.
  • Forged signatures – Typically blank checks that have been obtained by the fraudster and then signed with a false signature or valid checks that have been endorsed and cashed by someone other than the payee.

What Can You Do To Protect Yourself From Check Fraud?

  • Keep your checks, deposit slips and bank statements in a secure location.
  • Review your statements closely and report any discrepancies to your bank immediately.
  • Do not share your account number with anyone who does not need it.
  • Destroy old checks, statements, ATM receipts, etc., before discarding.
  • If you pay bills using checks that will be put in the mail, put them in a U.S. Postal Service blue box or bring them to the Post Office.
  • Never sign a blank check.
  • Do not endorse a check until you are ready to cash or deposit it.
  • Do not put your Social Security number, driver’s license number, telephone number, or credit card number on your checks.
  • Use a Uniball 207 gel pen (available at office supply stores, discount department stores, and some grocery stores) to write checks. The gel gets trapped in the paper and makes it much harder to wash than regular ink.

How Do Wire and ACH Fraud Work?

Both wire and ACH (automated clearing house) transactions are forms of electronic fund transfers (EFTs). The primary difference is that wire transfers are done in real-time and ACH transfers are not. Wire transfers typically involve larger sums of money, are transferring money from one bank to another bank, and are more expensive to do. ACH transfers typically involve smaller amounts of money, take longer to process, and are less expensive to do. Payroll deposits and online bill payments are examples of ACH transactions.

Wire and/or ACH fraud occur when a fraudster uses one of these transfer methods to obtain money based on false representation or promises. For example, you may purchase an item on an online auction site, wire the money to the seller and either never get the item or receive an item of a lower value than was advertised/promised. Another common type of wire/ACH fraud involves what appears to be an email from a friend stranded in a foreign country after being robbed. This “friend” asks you to wire them money so they can get home. Phishing and malware are often used to obtain your bank logon credentials. Once the fraudster has these, he/she can use them to wire money out of your account and into his/hers or use your money to initiate payments for his/her own bills.

What Can You Do To Protect Yourself From Wire/ACH Fraud?

  • Monitor your accounts regularly for unauthorized transactions. Report any unauthorized transactions to your bank immediately.
  • Do not share your online banking logon credentials (user ID and password) with anyone.
  • Do not share your account number with anyone who does not need it.
  • Never access your bank account using a public computer (e.g., at the library or a hotel business office).
  • Install a firewall on your computer to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Install and run anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer and keep them up-to-date.

How Does Card Fraud Work?

Card fraud is theft and fraud committed using a credit or debit card. The fraudster may use the card to obtain products or services or to withdraw money from your account. Credit and debit card information is most often obtained through phishing (all forms) and skimming. You may click on a link in an email that downloads malware onto your computer. The malware will then enable the fraudster to steal your logon credentials the next time you log into online banking.

What Can You Do To Protect Yourself From Card Fraud?

  • Sign the back of your card as soon as you get it.
  • Get online statements instead of paper statements that come in the mail.
  • Check your statements as soon as you get them.
  • Be sure any sites you put your card information into (e.g., online shopping sites) are secure. The URL should start with https, not http.
  • Protect your cards like you would cash – try not to let them out of your sight.
  • If your card is lost or stolen, notify your bank immediately.
  • Shred credit card applications you may receive in the mail.
  • Keep a record of account numbers, expiration dates, phone numbers and addresses for each credit card in a secure place.
  • Never give your credit card number over the phone unless you initiated the call and are dealing with a trusted source.
  • Do not store your PIN with your credit/debit card.

To report fraud to Fifth Third Bank, call 1-800-676-5869.