Bank scams are on the rise, senators are searching for solutions

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Senators are concerned that scammers are taking advantage of Americans’ bank accounts. From stealing checks, to scamming people through apps, lawmakers, like Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), want solutions to deal with a rise in scams and bank fraud throughout the country.

“The bad guys are going to use every method they can to try and rip people off,” Tester said.

The most popular way to send money is through online apps and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) says scammers take advantage of many Americans through these apps, through unauthorized transactions or fraudulent purchases.

“In 2022, one major payment app had more than $100 million in “unauthorized transactions.” Another had almost $60 million,” Brown said.

However, these scams are not a new problem. Check fraud has been an issue in the U.S. for decades and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) says it’s only gotten worse.

“Check fraud incidents nearly doubled from 2021 to 2022 and it’s on pace to increase even more,” Scott said.

Some experts say criminals will steal mail to find checks and have tools to wash the checks clean or make copies.

“Frankly it’s a very challenging fight for us to try and stop these trends unless we can start securing the mail,” Paul Benda with the American Bankers Association said.

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Penn.) says major banks need to do more to fend off scammers.

“They should be held accountable, not then a customer,” Fetterman asked.

“If it was unauthorized and the consumer didn’t do it, then yes, they should be reimbursed,” Ms. Carla Sanchez-Adams with the National Consumer Law Center answered.

Consumers reported losing more than $8 billion to fraud.

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