Sentinel Scam Alerts: Be Informed. Be Aware. Protect Yourself.
Counterfeit Official Checks SCAM ALERT - BEWARE!
Update: October 2, 2018 - Counterfeit Official Checks of First Sentinel Bank of Richlands, VA
It has come to the attention of First Sentinel Bank that counterfeit official checks are being circulated across the United States drawn on our bank, they are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with various Internet-based employment and overpayment scams.
Two variations of official checks currently in circulation resemble the bank's authentic checks. Look for security features on official checks such as heat sensitive security seal.
Counterfeit checks presented to date have been made payable in varying amounts beginning at $1,000, have contained different remitter names, and reference "Branch: 0001" in the bottom, and contain an authorized signature of "Rachel Cantrell and Amber Johnson along with another version of the counterfeit check that have different signatures, which are not legible."
Potential victims of this mystery shopping scam are contacted via e-mail or by a letter in the mail to go shopping at various locations. Once the assignment is accepted, the potential victim receives a letter in the mail or email along with payment in the form of a counterfeit check with instructions to send a money order and receipt to one or more individuals.
Letters accompanying the checks instruct the potential victim to immediately deposit the check into his or her bank account and to retain a portion of the money as a commission. The potential victim is then to use a small amount of the funds to make a purchase at a well-known chain store. Once the victim has purchased an item they are to e-mail an evaluation to rate their experience.
Potential victims have also been contacted by selling items on craigslist and receiving counterfeit official checks that have overpaid for the item and ask the victim to deposit the check and get the overpaid amount out in cash and then purchase a money order for the amount overpaid and mail and/or text a picture of the receipt to the person buying item.
Please be aware of these scams and contact First Sentinel bank to have them verify the authenticity of these type of checks at (276) 963-0836
or by e-mailing us.
In addition to contacting the appropriate banks, there are others whom you also should notify if you receive a counterfeit item. They include:
U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Office of Inspector General,
Operations Support Group, 222 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1250
Chicago, IL 60606-6100
May 9, 2017 - Text Message Scam
Please be aware of a text message scam that is circulating. The message states it is Wells Fargo and that your Visa debit card is locked. This message is in no way associated with First Sentinel Bank. It is a scam trying to get your card information. Do not reply back to the message or call the number provided.
There is also a "robocall" scam circulating that will ask "can you hear me now." Do not answer this call or say anything. Additional information on this scam is provided on NetworkWorld
December 29, 2016 - Online Banking Customers
Please be aware of any emails you receive implying First Sentinel Bank needs you to send your online banking log-in information to the website listed in the email so your account can be updated. DO NOT REPLY to this type of emails….This type of emails are phishing SCAMS to steal your log-in information. Also, please do not respond to any e-mail stating that a debit card you requested has been mailed. These are also SCAM e-mails trying to obtain account information.
First Sentinel Bank will never call, text, or email a request for your personal information, account information or online banking information. If you have received such an email or text and have provided any information, please contact the bank immediately at (276) 963-1555.
Automated Phone Message Scam
Consumers in the area are receiving pre-recorded phone messages with the warning that their cards from First Sentinel Bank have had a hold placed on them. The message instructs the targeted individual to select a certain number and enter card number and pin to remove the hold. Please do not respond to these types of calls. It is a scam. First Sentinel Bank will never solicit you to reveal your pin number.
Text Message and Phone Phishing Attacks
Recent reports indicate an increase in text message and phone phishing attacks on consumers and possibly First Sentinel Bank customers. Targeted Individuals receive a phone call or a text with a pre-recorded message. The automated message states the individual’s card has been closed and to re-activate the card they must enter their 16 digit card number, PIN, card expiration date, etc. In some cases there is no number attached to the call.
October 22, 2010 - Debit Card Scam
It has recently come to our attention that a person or entity impersonating as an official representative has been making phone calls to our customers. They are requesting our customers to provide personal identifying information and First Sentinel Bank customer Debit Card and Account information.
The caller will use tactics by laying false claim against the customer in an attempt to upset the customer. The caller attempts to lure the customer into providing sensitive personal information, such as name, Social Security number, and date of birth and strongly urges the customer to reveal this information to avoid a lawsuit and possible arrest. In some instances, the caller is said to sound aggressive and threatening.
These suspicious telephone calls are fraudulent. Recipients should consider them as an attempt to steal money or collect personal identifying information. If you receive a similar telephone call or message, please do not provide any information about your accounts with First Sentinel Bank.
If a caller demonstrates that he or she has the recipient's sensitive personal information, such as Social Security number, date of birth, and bank account numbers, the recipient may be the victim of identity theft and should review his or her credit reports for signs of possible fraud. The individual should also consider placing a “fraud alert” on his or her credit reports. This can be done by contacting one of the three consumer reporting companies listed below. Only one of the three companies needs to be contacted. That company is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of the report.
Don’t fall prey to this type of scam. First Sentinel Bank will never solicit personal or financial information. Do not respond to requests for information unless you initiate the request - this includes requests via e-mail, phone, text messaging or through the mail.
Lost or Stolen Debit Card
In most cases, you will not be held liable for unauthorized use of your Debit or ATM card if you report your card lost or stolen in a timely manner. Let us know immediately if your card has been lost or stolen. During normal banking hours, please contact our Customer Service Center at (276) 963-3000 ext. 234, to report your lost or stolen card. If you discover your card missing after hours or during a weekend, please call 1-866-546-8273.
Please have the following information available:
- The bank's name and city, state.
- The exact name on the card
- Your full address and day time phone number
- The reason you request the card to be hot carded
Contact our Customer Service Center at (276) 963-3000 ext. 234 during banking hours to arrange for a replacement card.
Other Important Numbers
Local Law Enforcement
- Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office (276) 988-5966
- Russell County Sheriff’s Office (276) 889-8033
- VA State Police (804) 674-2000
Fraud Victim Assistance Division
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, California 92834-6790
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, Georgia 30374-0241
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, Texas 75013
If you received such a call and provided your personal information, we urge you to contact us immediately at (276) 963-1555. The Customer Service Representative you speak with will be able to take appropriate steps to help protect your First Sentinel Bank accounts from potential fraudulent use.
At First Sentinel Bank, we want to provide you with the highest level of account protection. Please help us do so by keeping your contact information up to date. If a fraudulent transaction is suspected on your account, our fraud center will contact you by phone. Please provide us with a current phone number by giving us a call at (276) 963-3000, sending us a message via online banking, or by visiting your local branch. Thank you for your assistance in this matter, we appreciate your time and look forward to serving your banking needs.
As always, First Sentinel Bank would never ask you to provide personal or account information in an unsolicited manner. We apologize for any inconvenience or concern this unfortunate event may have caused you, and hope you understand that this was not a situation which was in our control. At First Sentinel Bank, we honor our commitment to handle your financial information with the utmost care and confidentiality.