Scams and Identity Theft

Take Action: Quick Resources to Use if You Suspect You're a Victim

Check Theft and Check Washing Scams

Criminals steal paper checks sent through the mail, for example, by fishing them from USPS mailboxes or by taking them out of your personal mailbox. They may even rob postal workers in search of checks. Once they have a check you wrote and mailed, for example, to a charity, they use chemicals to “wash” the check in order to change the amount or make themselves the payee. They then deposit your check and steal money from your account. If you have mailed a check that was paid, but the recipient never received it, you may be a check washing victim. Here are some tips if you feel you've been a victim.

Preventing Elder Financial Abuse

Elder financial abuse remains a growing problem in the United States. Various studies in the past few years put the range at somewhere between $2.9 billion and as high as $36.5 billion. We’ve put together a Communications Guide about preventing elder financial abuse. Here's the guide.

Identity Theft and Account Protection

Tax Refund Identity Fraud

Each year, the IRS intercepts hundreds of thousands of fraudulent tax returns seeking billions in fraudulent refunds. It is becoming an increasingly prevalent scam. The IRS recommends filing your return as early as possible each year to beat scammers to the punch. Here are some other tips from the IRS to protect you from becoming a victim, and steps to take if you think someone may have filed a tax return using your name.

Payday Loans

The Consumer Federation of America provides information about high-cost small dollar loans, including payday loans, car title loans, bank overdrafts, and refund anticipation loans here. For payday loans, consumers can click on their state to check the legal limits and requirements that apply and to find contact information for their state regulators. Research and reports, testimony and consumer advice are also available on the website.

Advanced-Fee Loan Scams

Ads and websites that guarantee loans or credit cards, regardless of your credit history can be tempting. The catch comes when you apply for the loan or credit card and find out you have to pay a fee in advance.


FDIC Consumer Alerts

These real-time alerts provide information and warnings about frauds and scams. Click here to see recent alerts.