From: Arika [firstname.lastname@example.org]
RE: Washington Mutual Bank - cashed cashier's check from Nigeria - then check
bounced and funds taken from customer's account
i have hand-made jewelry for sale online. i got an offer from nigeria. i was
skeptical, but thought as long as i was careful, if it wasn't a valid order, i
wouldn't lose anything. WRONG-O! you see, i made the mistake of banking with
washington mutual. i received a cashier's check drawn on an american bank, but he
gave me the fedex tracking number. i called: it was sent from lagos, nigeria. his
"client" was in the US. well, maybe the client had sent it to him because he was
unsure of something... as long as i'm careful, and i don't have the money until
the bank says i do...
so i went into wamu and said: "this cashier's check was sent to me from nigeria.
what do you have to do to verify it because i can't cover it if it's bad." it was
$5400. he had claimed that his "client" owed him that much, and he wanted to have
his client send me the whole thing, and let me wire him the balance. i should have
listened to my gut, but i really needed the money and wanted it to be a real order
so i could get my car fixed.
i explained over and over to the teller and her manager why it had been sent from
nigeria, and that i was supposed to wire the $4000 back to nigeria when it CLEARED.
they were completely informed. they cleared
the funds immediately. they didn't tell me they don't verify cashier's checks, that
they consider it their customers' responsibility to verify their own cashier's
checks. they didn't tell me the check could still
come back. they just released the funds, and gave me $4000 in cash to western union
to the guy in nigeria.
well, of course the check came back counterfeit, 8 days later. and wamu deducted
$5400 plus overdraft fees from my account, and didn't contact me until the following
week, by mail, in a letter addressed to "joshua acosta," the "client," who's name
was on the check as the DRAWER. wamu owes me $5559 for all those fees and returned
i want to get the word out more about this scam, and especially to warn people not
to trust wamu to protect them because unless they get a teller who doesn't
understand the bank's policy, and treats her customer like a human being, they will
pay dearly for trusting wamu.
first off, what do you expect the bank to do? "Oh, sorry about the error but it was a fake, however we'll let you keep our money.". Doubt it highly, generally one should wait until it has cleared the issuing bank, if it's a fake and no money was spent volia, no lost cash.