Consumer Alerts - From PA Department of Banking/U.S. Postal Service Fraud

Postal Service Alerts Banks About Scam

The U.S. Postal Service warned financial institutions about a fresh fraud scheme involving counterfeit checks purportedly from the postal service or other businesses. The scam is targeting U.S. residents in letters sent from Canada that direct people to call a number, where they are told to fax a copy of their paycheck. Afterward, people receive the fraudulent check in the mail, which they are directed to deposit and then send money outside the United States.

Counterfeit Cashier's Checks

ESSA Bank & Trust Company, Stroudsburg, has received several reports of counterfeit cashier's checks bearing its name being used to purchase items on the Internet. ESSA says several of the bogus checks were used on Craigslist and another was passed in a chat room. All of the currently known victims are from out of state.

The Pennsylvania Department of Banking urges sellers of items over the Internet or through classified ads to be cautious when accepting cashier's checks from buyers they do not know, especially if the buyer is in another country. Also be suspicious of a buyer who overpays for an item or one who backs out of the transaction after you've deposited the check and asks you to return the funds.

Be aware that if you present a counterfeit check to a bank, you are responsible for repaying the funds. Also, when a bank makes funds from a deposited check available, that doesn't necessarily mean that the check has "cleared."

Counterfeit cashier's checks should be reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Banking at 1-800-PA-BANKS or

Individuals who suspect that they have received a counterfeit ESSA cashier's check should notify the bank at 570-421-0531.

For more information on counterfeit casher's checks and other scams, visit the Consumer Information section of our website,

Deceptive Advertising

The Federal Reserve Board is warning homeowners about lenders and brokers who offer mortgages with cash grants or equity disbursements through a "Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) program." Federal officials say the direct mail solicitations are in fact an attempt to entice consumers to apply for mortgages using their homes as security and that no such CRA program exists.

The Community Reinvestment Act is a federal law meant to encourage banks and other financial institutions to meet the credit needs of low-and moderate-income neighborhoods in their areas. CRA does not entitle individuals to any grants or loans.

Any homeowner who receives a questionable solicitation from a mortgage company should notify the Pennsylvania Department of Banking at 1-800-PA-BANKS or Consumers with questions about this particular solicitation may also contact the Federal Reserve Board at or 202-872-7584.