Customer Alert - Scam Alleging Federal Government Program - 07/17/12
Heritage Oaks Bank was recently notified that consumers nationwide are falling victim to a scam that alleges one personal bill will be paid by the Federal Government through a new economic development program sanctioned by President Obama. At the time of this communication, two confirmed incidents have been identified, with each incident involving thousands of transactions.
Because ensuring your security is top priority for us, we felt it worthwhile to provide you with the information below.
Essence of the Scam
After providing a Social Security Number and personal information to the perpetrators, the consumer is provided with a routing transit number and account number to have their bills allegedly paid by the Federal Government. Consumers subsequently use the information to originate an ACH debit to the compromised account number / routing number of the victimized financial institution. The transaction is frequently initiated directly from the biller’s website or telephone response system and the Originator relies on the authorization provided by their client. However, upon receipt of the fraudulent debit, the RDFI returns the transaction to the ODFI. As a result of this scheme, when the return is processed, the consumer’s bill is not paid and their Social Security Number and personal financial information have been compromised.
The most recent iteration of this fraud involves the exploitation of a legitimate routing transit number of Sugar River Bank of Newport, NH. The bank’s actual routing transit number and the fictitious account number are being communicated to consumers through social media, the Internet, and other means.
Financial institutions, processors/service providers, and billing companies that originate Direct Payment via ACH debit transactions are requested by Sugar River Bank of Newport, NH to be aware that:
- The routing transit number 2117-7014-5 is a legitimate routing transit number of that institution.
- It is being exploited for nefarious purposes in combination with invalid account numbers.
Addressing the Issue
This fraudulent activity is affecting consumers, billing companies, financial institutions, processors and other parties. To protect yourself from these types of scams:
- Consumer Account Holders – Never providing any bank account information or personal information (account number, bank routing number, Social Security Number) to any anonymous source.
- Corporate Originators – Closely and carefully monitor payment information (account number, routing number) submitted through telephone conversations or internet payment portals to ensure the information provided does not contain payment routing/ account number information identified by industry sources (NACHA, Regional Payment Associations, other Regulators) as having been compromised.
If you have additional questions about this incident or future events that appear to match this incident, please contact our eBanking Department at (800) 773-5640, option #4 or via email at: eBanking@heritageoaksbank.com.