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Fake Bank Scam Targets Consumers Rebuilding Credit

So what can consumers seeking to rebuild credit do to protect themselves from this type of scam? For one thing, it is fairly easy to confirm whether or not a bank exists. The customer agreements should mention the actual name and address of the chartered depository institution taking the deposits. You can then go to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Web site and search for the institution's call report or thrift financial report, by clicking here.

Then, for report type, select "Call/TFR." Then type the institution's name to search for it. If no report comes up, and we are in the middle of the quarterly cycle when banks file their financial information with regulators, you may need to go back a quarter when selecting the report date.

The call report includes the bank's address right at the top.

The credit card offer should also include a customer service phone number. Call them and speak with a representative, to make sure you know which bank is involved.

And if they don't provide a customer service phone number, take your business elsewhere.

-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

>Contact by Email.

Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.
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