Union Bank's Resource Library—Financial
Protect Yourself from Con Artists,
Scams and Fraud According to Janet Reno,
U.S. Attorney General, telemarketing fraud alone costs consumers about
$40 billion a year. When other types of fraud are included, the amount
is substantially higher.
Phony bank examiners. Phony police investigations.
Pigeon drops. These are different methods that are all meant to
convince you to turn over large amounts of money to con artists. Here's
how they work:
Follow these simple rules to protect yourself:
- The bank examiner and police investigation scams usually
start with a phone call from someone presenting themselves as an
examiner or police investigator. The cons tell you they are conducting
an investigation of your bank. You are then instructed to make a
large withdrawal and turn it over to them as "evidence."
- Pigeon drops are cons designed to get you to provide
a large amount of cash with the promise of getting an even larger
sum. A con might tell you, for example, that they have found a wallet
containing a large sum of cash. They are willing to share it with
you if you will provide the "legal fees" to lay claim to it. The
money found is fictitious and your "legal fee" will never
- Never give checking account, credit card or social
security numbers over the phone unless you know the caller well.
- Remember, a bank examiner will never operate in the
way described in the scenario above and a police investigator will
never ask you to withdraw cash.
- If you are contacted by an individual who is acting
out any of these cons, hang up and notify the bank and/or law enforcement