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February NewsFebruary 2014 Issue
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Fraud Prevention

Lottery Scams

In the lottery scam, you receive an eMail notification claiming you have won an international lottery (Jamaican Lottery, Spanish Lottery, etc.). In order to claim your winnings, you must contact the claims agent, typically by an eMail address that is most often from a free provider (e.g., Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.). The agent then sends you a claim form to verify your identity. You must then return the form with your personal details, along with copies of your passport and/or driver’s license to “verify your true identity”. The fraudsters now have enough information to duplicate your identity. In addition, in order to claim winnings, you are required to wire funds to the fraudsters to cover the transaction, insurance, tax and legal fees associated with receiving their winnings. The victims are required to transfer the money requested via Western Union. You are now out the funds you have wired to the fraudsters and, the fraudsters have your personal identification to continue to commit fraud.

Check Scams

There are many variations of check scams. It could start with someone offering to buy something you advertised, pay you to do work at home, give you an “advance” on a sweepstakes you’ve supposedly won, or pay the first installment on the millions that youll receive for agreeing to have money in a foreign country transferred to your bank account for safekeeping. Whatever the pitch, the person may sound quite believable.

Things to look out for:
  • Fake check scammers hunt for victims. They scan newspaper and online advertisements for people listing items for sale, and check postings on online job sites from people seeking employment. They place their own ads for people to contact them. They also call or send emails to people randomly, knowing that some will take the bait
  • They often claim to be in another country. The scammers say its too difficult and complicated to send you the money directly from their country, so they will arrange for someone in the U. S. to send you a check
  • They tell you to wire money to them after youve deposited the check
  • The checks are fake but they look real
  • You dont have to wait long to use the money, but that doesnt mean the check is good
  • You are responsible for the checks you deposit
  • There is NO legitimate reason for someone who is giving you money to ask you to wire money back

What can you do?

If you receive a check in the mail that you are not expecting, DO NOT CASH IT. You should call the issuing bank directly to verify that the account is valid and the check is real.

If you are a victim of a counterfeit check cashing scam, eMail the FDICs Special Activities Section at: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

If you believe you may have fallen victim to this type of scam and wish to report it, please file a complaint with the U. S. Government Internet Crime Complaint Center at: http://www.ic3.gov

Or contact them at:
FDICs Cyber Fraud and Financial Crimes Section
550 17th Street, NW, Room F-4040
Washington, DC 20429

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