No, really - this check's for real.
After years of warning older people not to endorse checks that show up out of the blue, state and federal regulators are spreading the word that reimbursement checks arriving from Wachovia Bank are OK.
"The Wachovia restitution checks are legitimate, and the Federal Trade Commission urges consumers to cash them," the FTC said in a recent advisory.More than 740,000 customers are receiving more than $150 million after a December settlement between Wachovia and federal regulators. The bank debited the customers' accounts after transactions with fraudulent or deceptive telemarketers, according to an FTC statement.
Mitch Katz, a spokesman for the FTC in Washington, said the agency often gets calls from people who want to know whether checks they have received are on the level. In the Wachovia case, there's a special reason for caution, Katz said.
"They are being sent out to people who have been scammed previously," he said. "Consumers are wary of cashing them."
According to federal regulators, telemarketers operating between 2003 and 2006, many affiliated with Florida-based Suntasia Marketing, Inc., got account information from customers while selling "questionable products and services." Armed with the account information, the telemarketers had checks on their accounts made -- without customers' signatures -- by a payment processor, or company that handles credit-card transactions.
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