Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

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skepticalobserver
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Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by skepticalobserver » Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:44 pm

This is from David Merkel’s “Aleph Blog,” an especially astute market commentary. In the February 23 Blog David relates a bank fraud perpetrated on him using mobile deposits. This scenario is new to me. Unfortunately, the bank refused to accept liability for the loss.

http://alephblog.com/

jebmke
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by jebmke » Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:48 pm

It is remarkable that here we stand in the "digital age" and we still pass little pieces of paper around to transfer money. To add insult to injury, we consider taking pictures of those little pieces of paper to send to the bank "technical progress."
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9liner
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by 9liner » Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:53 pm

From what I gathered, the author cut a check and the payee subsequently deposited the check multiple times. Personally, I don't perceive this as an significant issue. I write very few checks and am very vigilant about checking my account. If for some reason I cut a large check, I am constantly hawking my accounts to see when the check cleared.

123
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by 123 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:55 pm

One of the problems with mobile deposits is that there may not really be a check involved, just an image of a check. That image can be photo-shopped to change desired characteristics. The bank really doesn't need much check info to process a check, just the routing number, account number, and check amount.

Corporations have ways of protecting themselves against checks perpetuated against their accounts by fraudsters if they choose to use them (and pay for the service). Bank offer a service where the customer business furnishes an electronic list of check numbers and check amounts and the bank rejects any check that does not appear on that list. It's a paid service, but it's likely too cumbersome and time consuming for consumers and small businesses.
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radiowave
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by radiowave » Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:56 pm

Interesting blog, I hadn't thought of someone altering a check then photo depositing it in their account?

I have all the text alerts and email alerts available on and rarely use checks except for two utilities and HOA. So if a check gets deposited, I'm alerted and immediately look at it. My only beef, is that the bank only sends the alert a couple business days later. My credit cards send text when I make the purchase, sometimes even before the waiter gets back to the table.
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madbrain
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by madbrain » Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:24 pm

9liner wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:53 pm
From what I gathered, the author cut a check and the payee subsequently deposited the check multiple times.
No. The recipient altered the check to make it look like a different check, and deposited it multiple times to different banks.
This is clearly fraud on the part of the recipient. While the banks are unable to identify fake checks, they certainly should rectify the error after it is discovered. Banks can't even identify fake checks when cashed in person by an impersonator. I wouldn't expect them to catch a fake check that's been deposited by mobile. But they have to be responsible for correcting mistakes.

viewtopic.php?t=236760

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VictoriaF
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:34 pm

madbrain wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:24 pm
9liner wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:53 pm
From what I gathered, the author cut a check and the payee subsequently deposited the check multiple times.
No. The recipient altered the check to make it look like a different check, and deposited it multiple times to different banks.
This is clearly fraud on the part of the recipient. While the banks are unable to identify fake checks, they certainly should rectify the error after it is discovered. Banks can't even identify fake checks when cashed in person by an impersonator. I wouldn't expect them to catch a fake check that's been deposited by mobile. But they have to be responsible for correcting mistakes.

viewtopic.php?t=236760
Do I understand this correctly?
The payer used a regular paper check.
The payee has deposited it [its altered versions] multiple times using mobile payments.

I don't use mobile payments and rely on credit cards and occasional paper checks. The OP story shows that I am not safe from the mobile banking fraud.

Victoria
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madbrain
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by madbrain » Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:47 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:34 pm
madbrain wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:24 pm
9liner wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:53 pm
From what I gathered, the author cut a check and the payee subsequently deposited the check multiple times.
No. The recipient altered the check to make it look like a different check, and deposited it multiple times to different banks.
This is clearly fraud on the part of the recipient. While the banks are unable to identify fake checks, they certainly should rectify the error after it is discovered. Banks can't even identify fake checks when cashed in person by an impersonator. I wouldn't expect them to catch a fake check that's been deposited by mobile. But they have to be responsible for correcting mistakes.

viewtopic.php?t=236760
Do I understand this correctly?
The payer used a regular paper check.
The payee has deposited it [its altered versions] multiple times using mobile payments.
Yes, that's what the blog page referenced in the OP says.

IMO, banks must make this right. Consumer should not have to fight for this.
I don't use mobile payments and rely on credit cards and occasional paper checks. The OP story shows that I am not safe from the mobile banking fraud.
You are not anymore or less at risk from it than you are from someone copying/altering the check and depositing it in person at multiple institutions!.

Of course, it is easier to fake a check image than a piece of paper, but it is done anyway (see link that I posted for check cashing fraud).

The OP mentions possibility of lawsuit and state and federal regulators, but he doesn't say which federal regulators he talked to. I think something is missing from the story. I think banks have to make this right and revert fraudulent activity once it is proven to them. There should be no need for lawsuits there. Surely FDIC / CFPB would intervene if they did not.

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Cosmo
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by Cosmo » Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:55 pm

skepticalobserver wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:44 pm
This is from David Merkel’s “Aleph Blog,” an especially astute market commentary. In the February 23 Blog David relates a bank fraud perpetrated on him using mobile deposits. This scenario is new to me. Unfortunately, the bank refused to accept liability for the loss.

http://alephblog.com/
Yet one more reason to avoid writing checks to someone. Period.

vtMaps
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by vtMaps » Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:57 pm

The author of the blog wrote:
"I am out a considerable amount of money because I was not following my accounts closely".
He didn't mention a timeline, but I suspect that he didn't notice the fraud until long after the statement date.

--vtMaps
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Watty
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by Watty » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:03 pm

There is likely more going here than the author mentioned.

Most bank errors must be reported within 30 or 60 days of the statement date or the bank is not required to fix them.

A good reason for this is that there is also a time limit on how long the bank has that they can reverse the transaction.

If the author did not report it promptly the bank might not have had any way to fix it.

madbrain
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by madbrain » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:08 pm

Cosmo wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:55 pm
skepticalobserver wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:44 pm
This is from David Merkel’s “Aleph Blog,” an especially astute market commentary. In the February 23 Blog David relates a bank fraud perpetrated on him using mobile deposits. This scenario is new to me. Unfortunately, the bank refused to accept liability for the loss.

http://alephblog.com/
Yet one more reason to avoid writing checks to someone. Period.
That wouldn't really help you at all. Anyone who has your bank's routing number and account can "write" a check.
If you have any autopay ACH pull payments going on, someone has it. It only takes one party to be hacked for the numbers to be out there.
The only thing you can do to protect against that is to not have a bank account.

madbrain
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by madbrain » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:10 pm

vtMaps wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:57 pm
The author of the blog wrote:
"I am out a considerable amount of money because I was not following my accounts closely".
He didn't mention a timeline, but I suspect that he didn't notice the fraud until long after the statement date.

--vtMaps
Yes, that is probably why. I'm glad all my accounts as well as my husband's are in my Quicken account.
I noticed the check fraud on his savings account by doing a Quicken download, noticing it had gone negative after the bank charged it for the returned checked that the fraudster had cashed.

123
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by 123 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:12 pm

Watty wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:03 pm
...
If the author did not report it promptly the bank might not have had any way to fix it.
The bank could always simply refund the money taken inappropriately from the customer account out of the goodness of their heart and charge it to their customer relations budget line. But that's doubtful.
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madbrain
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by madbrain » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:14 pm

123 wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:12 pm
Watty wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:03 pm
...
If the author did not report it promptly the bank might not have had any way to fix it.
The bank could always simply refund the money taken inappropriately from the customer account out of the goodness of their heart and charge it to their customer relations budget line. But that's doubtful.
Yeah. But if we are talking about "a considerable amount of money", how did the blogger not notice it missing ?

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Cosmo
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by Cosmo » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:28 pm

madbrain wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:08 pm
Cosmo wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:55 pm
skepticalobserver wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:44 pm
This is from David Merkel’s “Aleph Blog,” an especially astute market commentary. In the February 23 Blog David relates a bank fraud perpetrated on him using mobile deposits. This scenario is new to me. Unfortunately, the bank refused to accept liability for the loss.

http://alephblog.com/
Yet one more reason to avoid writing checks to someone. Period.
That wouldn't really help you at all. Anyone who has your bank's routing number and account can "write" a check.
If you have any autopay ACH pull payments going on, someone has it. It only takes one party to be hacked for the numbers to be out there.
The only thing you can do to protect against that is to not have a bank account.
Won't help you all all? Zero help? Not even a little? Of course it is going to help. Anything that reduces your exposure to the GP will help. I agree it won't completely eliminate the risk. By the way, despite all the attention that cybercrime gets, there is still plenty of low tech crime and fraud quietly going on and it usually involves checks.

Cosmo

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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by littlebird » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:40 pm

madbrain wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:08 pm
Cosmo wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:55 pm
skepticalobserver wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:44 pm
This is from David Merkel’s “Aleph Blog,” an especially astute market commentary. In the February 23 Blog David relates a bank fraud perpetrated on him using mobile deposits. This scenario is new to me. Unfortunately, the bank refused to accept liability for the loss.

http://alephblog.com/
Yet one more reason to avoid writing checks to someone. Period.
That wouldn't really help you at all. Anyone who has your bank's routing number and account can "write" a check.
If you have any autopay ACH pull payments going on, someone has it. It only takes one party to be hacked for the numbers to be out there.
The only thing you can do to protect against that is to not have a bank account.
Banks are responsible by law for fraudulent checks, as long as the payor is not complicit and reports it promptly

madbrain
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by madbrain » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:03 pm

littlebird wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:40 pm
Banks are responsible by law for fraudulent checks, as long as the payor is not complicit and reports it promptly
Yes. It appears to be a case of the later not happening.

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StevieG72
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by StevieG72 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:15 pm

Sounds like the bank should take care of this type of fraud unless too much time has passed.

I do not have paper checks associated with my checking account, haven’t for many years.

Also do not have a debit or ATM card either.

When I occasionally need a check for a purchase I stop by the bank and get a cashiers check.
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CppCoder
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by CppCoder » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:45 pm

This happened to my wife once (someone altered a check), and the bank reversed the charge the next day. My wife also filed a police report, and subsequently, the perpetrator was arrested. I don't know what happened to the case. My wife was not called as a witness (yet?).

SimonJester
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by SimonJester » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:51 am

The take away here is not to stop writing checks, or using mobile deposit. Its monitor your accounts!
Washing checks was a thing long before mobile deposit...

Banks have made monitoring your account very easy, set your account to email you for every check that goes through, or every transaction if you wish...
if you have account that do not get much use I think it makes sense to have an alert on every transaction...
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

ji.isaacs
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by ji.isaacs » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:39 am

madbrain wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:08 pm
Cosmo wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:55 pm
skepticalobserver wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:44 pm
This is from David Merkel’s “Aleph Blog,” an especially astute market commentary. In the February 23 Blog David relates a bank fraud perpetrated on him using mobile deposits. This scenario is new to me. Unfortunately, the bank refused to accept liability for the loss.

http://alephblog.com/
Yet one more reason to avoid writing checks to someone. Period.
That wouldn't really help you at all. Anyone who has your bank's routing number and account can "write" a check.
If you have any autopay ACH pull payments going on, someone has it. It only takes one party to be hacked for the numbers to be out there.
The only thing you can do to protect against that is to not have a bank account.
You can mitigate potential damage by keeping minimal funds in the checking account and removing the automatic overdraft "protection" that banks seem to tout.

Interaccount funds transfers (at the same bank, of course) are immediate. I've never used mobile banking and have no plans to employ it, ever.

I think I'll call a couple of banks to find out if turning off mobile banking is an available feature.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:41 am

SimonJester wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:51 am
The take away here is not to stop writing checks, or using mobile deposit. Its monitor your accounts! (my bold)
Washing checks was a thing long before mobile deposit...

Banks have made monitoring your account very easy, set your account to email you for every check that goes through, or every transaction if you wish...
if you have account that do not get much use I think it makes sense to have an alert on every transaction...
I wonder if Vanguard would make a person whole if they hadn't checked their balances in some manner for months. I won't have that issue to worry about, for sure. :shock:

Broken Man 1999
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Watty
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by Watty » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:55 am

I had one more idea about what might be going on. It could be that the author has a debit card that he or she uses for almost every purchase, I know some people that do that.

If that is the case then they could have hundreds of transactions each month on their bank statement which would make the bad checks harder to spot.

I don't use a debit card so I maybe have two dozen transactions on my checking account each month with online bill pays and a few paper checks. Anything out of the ordinary would stand out.

spectec
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by spectec » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:57 am

We use electronic banking almost exclusively. Haven't been into a branch in years, other than to handle transactions which can't be done electronically, such as foreign exchange and wire transfers. We only write a check every month or so - all business and personal bills are paid electronically. We also use debit cards, PayPal, etc regularly & frequently.

But I don't trust any part of the system. I check all account balances frequently and keep a mental record of roughly how much is supposed to be in various accounts. Guess that makes me run afoul of the "Don't Peek" mantra, because I follow that same procedure with retirement accounts as well.
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AntsOnTheMarch
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by AntsOnTheMarch » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:19 am

SimonJester wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:51 am
The take away here is not to stop writing checks, or using mobile deposit. Its monitor your accounts!
Washing checks was a thing long before mobile deposit...
Exactly! The reason not to write paper checks is because it’s ancent technology. There are many other, more efficient ways to pay everything under the sun. Paper checks offer you no advantages and have some disadvantages.

As for alerts, yes. I use the lowest possible screening amount the institution will allow. Chase CC will send me an alert for any transaction over $0.00 so that what it’s set to. Some banks only go as low as $100. I take the lowest that they will give me.

Then, guard your email and phone number like the king’s gold.

Additionally, I usually have cause to log into accounts approximately once per week to check on a pending payment, CC transaction or whatever. For vanguard, I have a spreadsheet which updates prices of our funds so I can look at each account total and check it against what vanguard is reporting online. If they don’t jive, something is wrong. Not much work to check the totals. It’s always interesting to reallocate because I update my spreadsheet and then nothing jives with Vanguard’s numbers until the next morning—when prices update and pending transactions have all cleared. At that point, as if by magic, all is well again.

Mudpuppy
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by Mudpuppy » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:26 pm

vtMaps wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:57 pm
The author of the blog wrote:
"I am out a considerable amount of money because I was not following my accounts closely".
He didn't mention a timeline, but I suspect that he didn't notice the fraud until long after the statement date.
Or it was a business checking account. That's one thing people forget when they open business accounts in pursuit of opening bonuses or when they use the business accounts for personal purposes: you lose out on a lot of consumer fraud protection that exists for personal accounts. Personal accounts have 60 days to notify of this sort of fraud. Business accounts have whatever is in the agreement, which could be as little as 0 days (some business checking accounts have NO fraud protection from the bank as the business is expected to purchase the appropriate fraud insurance on their own).

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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by Mudpuppy » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:31 pm

littlebird wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:40 pm
Banks are responsible by law for fraudulent checks, as long as the payor is not complicit and reports it promptly
The law only covers consumer accounts. It does not cover business accounts. As I recall, even case law (what little of it that exists) has backed up the bank's right to refuse to reimburse a business account for fraud. If you have a business account and don't have your own fraud insurance policy for the business, you should look in to such matters more closely.

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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by Mudpuppy » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:33 pm

ji.isaacs wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:39 am
I think I'll call a couple of banks to find out if turning off mobile banking is an available feature.
Wouldn't help for this type of fraud. The mobile banking was on the recipient's side of the transaction, not the account holder's side. You can't prevent your recipients from using mobile banking to cash your checks.

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randomizer
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by randomizer » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:56 pm

Yet another reason to keep everything under the mattress as cash.
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miamivice
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by miamivice » Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:02 pm

Folks, folks, folks.

The link isn't a news story. It's a blog post.

There is no fact checking on blog posts. We have no idea if what happened actually happened. Or if details have been changed. Or if half the story was left out.

On the face of it, depositing a check multiple times into an account where one alters the check number is fraud. I'm sure that is a criminal offense.

Banks can also reverse check payments. And no you don't have to report fraud within 30 or 60 days.

So I wouldn't spend any time fretting about the situation that happened in the story.

ji.isaacs
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by ji.isaacs » Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:53 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:33 pm
ji.isaacs wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:39 am
I think I'll call a couple of banks to find out if turning off mobile banking is an available feature.
Wouldn't help for this type of fraud. The mobile banking was on the recipient's side of the transaction, not the account holder's side. You can't prevent your recipients from using mobile banking to cash your checks.
:oops: You're right!

On another note re cash: I had a contractor refuse cash not too long ago. It was $400 and they preferred a check.

madbrain
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by madbrain » Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:20 pm

ji.isaacs wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:39 am
You can mitigate potential damage by keeping minimal funds in the checking account and removing the automatic overdraft "protection" that banks seem to tout.
Yes, it will mitigate it, but not eliminate it. Even on a savings account, there can be check fraud.
See viewtopic.php?f=2&t=236760&e=1&view=unread#unread .

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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by madbrain » Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:27 pm

AntsOnTheMarch wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:19 am
There are many other, more efficient ways to pay everything under the sun. Paper checks offer you no advantages and have some disadvantages.
The preferred payment method is really up to who you are doing business with.
Many businesses will only take checks.

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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by littlebird » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:24 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:31 pm
littlebird wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:40 pm
Banks are responsible by law for fraudulent checks, as long as the payor is not complicit and reports it promptly
The law only covers consumer accounts. It does not cover business accounts. As I recall, even case law (what little of it that exists) has backed up the bank's right to refuse to reimburse a business account for fraud. If you have a business account and don't have your own fraud insurance policy for the business, you should look in to such matters more closely.
Yes, this is true.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Mar 02, 2018 1:18 pm

My accounts all have the option for notification for all transactions. Not 100%, but another step to keep yourself informed, which is way more than half the battle.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

Y.A.Tittle
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Re: Mobile Deposit Bank Fraud

Post by Y.A.Tittle » Sat Mar 03, 2018 11:52 am

In an age when hacking and fraud are constant threats there is no substitute for signing into your online bank account daily and checking the balances. A small price to pay for progress, such as it is.

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