Recently, several Federal Reserve Banks issued a scam alert concerning a scheme that is being promoted in online videos that claim U.S. citizens may make payments using fictitious accounts held at the Federal Reserve Banks. These fictitious accounts have been referenced as “secret accounts” and/or “Social Security Trust Accounts.” The individuals publishing the videos claim that substantial amounts are held within them for each U.S. citizen.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York posted this notice simply dated July, 2017. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta posted this notice, dated July 12, 2017. The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland also posted a notice.
Per the notice on the New York Federal Reserve site:
“To facilitate the scheme, the individuals publishing the videos have also offered bogus information on how other individuals may use online portals, such as bill-pay websites, to initiate payments from the fictitious accounts using Federal Reserve Bank routing numbers. Any video, text, e-mail, phone call, flyer, or website that describes how to pay bills using a Federal Reserve Bank routing number or using an account at the Federal Reserve Bank is a scam.
The Federal Reserve Banks provide banking services only to banks and governmental entities; individuals do not have accounts at the Federal Reserve. If a Federal Reserve Bank receives a request to make a payment on behalf of an individual, the Federal Reserve Bank will decline to make the payment.”
Yesterday, insideARM received reports from two separate ARM companies indicating they have already had consumers attempt to pay their delinquent accounts through this process. insideARM recommends a review of your payment processing system and procedures to determine whether you have the ability to “catch” this scam in real time.
Scams like this have been around forever in one form or another. Yet, it is amazing how many people will watch the online videos and believe that there is a magical account somewhere that can be tapped to pay your bills or make a purchase.
The New York Federal Reserve site provides this information: To report instances of fraud relating to these schemes, please e-mail RTN.firstname.lastname@example.org.