Heads up, property managers. A hoax circulating on the internet could potentially impact on-time rent payments this month.
We’ve caught wind of some popular YouTube videos promising viewers they can pay their bills online using “secret” bank account and routing numbers. The videos allege that using a code on the back of your social security card in place of a bank account number, and a routing number issued by the Federal Reserve Bank, will allow consumers to successfully complete an ACH transaction without using their own funds.
At PayLease, we’ve seen several instances of this being attempted, as have many other companies across the nation. Because these are ultimately invalid bank accounts and routing numbers, people who are attempting this are seeing payment reversals from the companies they are trying to pay.
The Federal Reserve Bank, along with the FBI have seen so many people attempting this that they recently put out a press release. The press release states, “Federal Reserve routing numbers are used for sorting and processing payments between banks. Any video, text, email, 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.”
So why are so many people believing what this video is promoting? Probably because in most cases, payment reversals don’t happen immediately. Depending on the company you are paying, and a variety of other factors, it can take one or more days before a payment gets returned for invalid account credentials.
The video comments are filled with people saying that they just made a payment and it went through. However, many come back days later saying their payments were reversed.
On top of payment reversals, some individuals are getting dinged with late fees. If a resident attempts a payment with phony information the day their rent is due, they could be in late payment territory by the time the transaction is reversed. Unfortunately, that also means property management companies may see the number of late payments they have this month increase.
As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Please share this article with your residents if you think this scheme may catch on in your community. No one wants a late payment on their hands!