Be On the Lookout
NEA FCU members should be on guard for potential scams when asked to deposit checks from any third parties into their accounts and asked to forward some of the money back to the sender while keeping a “Payment” for some purpose such as “Secret Shopping” or “System Testing” purposes. Often these checks are counterfeit and falsified in what is called a “check washing scheme” where legitimate checks have the original printing erased (washed) through chemical or photocopying processing and then “rewritten” with a new larger amount on either an original check or a photocopy. What seems harmless could leave you holding the bag and your savings and checking accounts empty.
Today’s technology makes it easy for criminals to issue counterfeit checks and money. Members need to be skeptical about why any company would issue a check and ask you to send money back to them. Legitimate services pay through checks that withhold federal, state and local taxes where applicable and Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax. If the check is written to you and does not have these withholdings, you are probably being scammed, could be liable for the taxes due and out of the money that is legitimately in your account to cover the counterfeit/fraudulent check cashed.
It is not worth the risk so take heed and be suspicious when dealing with companies through the internet and mail.