Fraud Prevention

FTC Warns About New Scam That Could Harm Merchants

Merchants that accept checks or online payments are being warned about a scam that could cost them time and money.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that federal officials, consumer advocates and businesses are hearing from people who have responded to ads, websites, phone calls, text messages and visits from salespeople who claim the federal government will pay their bills in exchange for a fee and personal information.

But these salespeople are scam artists who give people instructions on how to use bank account and routing numbers that do not belong to them to pay their bills online or print checks so they can make payments in person or by mail. In one scheme, they’re telling people to use the routing number of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (0610-0014-6) to make both check and electronic payments through the Automated Clearinghouse (ACH) Network.

Merchants who accept these checks run the risk of not getting paid. Some of the warning signs that a check could be counterfeit include the routing number being 0610-0014-6; no perforated edge on one side of the paper; the absence of security features, like a watermark; fewer than nine digits in the routing number; the bank address listed on the check doesn’t match its real address; and a flimsy feeling to the paper.

The FTC warns the public that if you receive an ACH payment, check, cashier’s check or certified check from a customer with this routing number, do not accept it. Instead, notify the authorities immediately: the National Association of Attorney Generals, your local office of the FBI, and your bank.

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