Lonely? You’re Never Alone!
1 Kings 19:10
Lonely? You’re Never Alone!
Lonely? You’re Never Alone!
1 Kings 19:10
If you’re shopping for a mobile phone, you’re in for a lot of acronyms. Here’s what you need to know about two basic, yet important, terms
Two basic technologies in mobile phones, CDMA and GSM represent a gap you can’t cross. They’re the reason you can’t use many AT&T phones on Verizon’s network and vice versa. But what does CDMA vs. GSM really mean for you?
CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and GSM (Global System for Mobiles) are shorthand for the two major radio systems used in cell phones. Both acronyms tend to group together a bunch of technologies run by the same entities. In this story, I’ll try to explain who uses which technology and what the real differences are.
In the US, Sprint, Verizon and US Cellular use CDMA. AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM.
Most of the rest of the world uses GSM. The global spread of GSM came about because in 1987, Europe mandated the technology by law, and because GSM comes from an industry consortium. What we call CDMA, by and large, is owned by chipmaker Qualcomm. This made it less expensive for third parties to build GSM equipment.
There are several variants and options carriers can choose, like toppings on their technological ice cream. In this story we’ll focus on US networks.
For call quality, the technology you use is much less important than the way your carrier has built its network. There are good and bad CDMA and GSM networks, but there are key differences between the technologies. Here’s what you, as a consumer, need to know.
It’s much easier to swap phones on GSM networks, because GSM carriers put customer information on a removable SIM card. Take the card out, put it in a different phone, and the new phone now has your number. What’s more, to be considered GSM, a carrier must accept any GSM-compliant phone. So the GSM carriers don’t have total control of the phone you’re using.
That’s not the case with CDMA. In the US, CDMA carriers use network-based white lists to verify their subscribers. That means you can only switch phones with your carrier’s permission, and a carrier doesn’t have to accept any particular phone onto its network. It could, but typically, US carriers choose not to.
Many Sprint and Verizon phones now have SIM cards, but that isn’t because of CDMA. The SIM cards are there for Sprint’s and Verizon’s 4G LTE networks, because the LTE standard also uses SIM cards. The phones may also have SIM slots to support foreign GSM networks as “world phones.”
3G CDMA networks (known as “EV-DO” or “Evolution Data Optimized”) also, generally, can’t make voice calls and transmit data at the same time. Once more, that’s an available option (known as “SV-DO” for “Simultaneous Voice and Data Optimization”), but one that US carriers haven’t adopted for their networks and phones.
On the other hand, all 3G GSM networks have simultaneous voice and data, because it’s a required part of the spec. (3G GSM is also actually a type of CDMA. I’ll explain that later.)
So why did so many US carriers go with CDMA? Timing. When Verizon’s predecessors and Sprint switched from analog to digital in 1995 and 1996, CDMA was the newest, hottest, fastest technology. It offered more capacity, better call quality and more potential than the GSM of the day. GSM caught up, but by then those carriers’ paths were set.
It’s possible to switch from CDMA to GSM. Bell and Telus in Canada have done it, to get access to the wider variety of off-the-shelf GSM phones. But Verizon and Sprint are big enough that they can get custom phones built for them, so they don’t see the need to waste money switching 3G technologies when they could be building out their 4G networks.
CDMA and GSM are both multiple access technologies. They’re ways for people to cram multiple phone calls or Internet connections into one radio channel.
GSM came first. It’s a “time division” system. Calls take turns. Your voice is transformed into digital data, which is given a channel and a time slot, so three calls on one channel look like this: 123123123123. On the other end, the receiver listens only to the assigned time slot and pieces the call back together.
The pulsing of the time division signal created the notorious “GSM buzz,” a buzzing sound whenever you put a GSM phone near a speaker. That’s mostly gone now, because 3G GSM (as I explain later) isn’t a time division technology.
CDMA required a bit more processing power. It’s a “code division” system. Every call’s data is encoded with a unique key, then the calls are all transmitted at once; if you have calls 1, 2, and 3 in a channel, the channel would just say 66666666. The receivers each have the unique key to “divide” the combined signal into its individual calls.
Code division turned out to be a more powerful and flexible technology, so “3G GSM” is actually a CDMA technology, called WCDMA (wideband CDMA) or UMTS (Universal Mobile Telephone System). WCDMA requires wider channels than older CDMA systems, as the name implies, but it has more data capacity.
Since its inception, GSM has evolved faster than CDMA. As I mentioned above, WCDMA is considered the 3G version of GSM technology. To further speed things up, the 3GPP (the GSM governing body) released extensions called HSPA, which have sped GSM networks up to as fast as 42Mbps, at least in theory.
Our CDMA networks, meanwhile, are stuck at 3.6Mbps. While faster CDMA technologies exist, US carriers chose not to install them and instead turned to 4G LTE to be more compatible with global standards.
LTE, or “Long Term Evolution,” is the globally accepted 4G wireless standard. All of the US carriers use it. For more, see 3G vs. 4G: What’s the Difference? So you’d think, hey, that should make everyone compatible, right? Wrong.
While most phones in 2017 use LTE for data, Sprint phones still use CDMA for all voice calls, and Verizon still has a network-based whitelist for phones that will work on its network. You can try to wiggle around the whitelist, as ZTE did with its Axon 7 phone, but the process is very unreliable.
In June, Verizon introduced its first two LTE-only phones, the LG Exalt LTE and HTC U11. This is part of a move to an all-LTE system; Verizon says it wants to shut down CDMA by the end of 2019. Without CDMA, it’s going to become easier for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon devices to be compatible in the future, but that still leaves Sprint out.
Also, the four carriers are using LTE in different frequency bands, with some of their phones specced to exclude the other carriers’ bands, making it harder to switch carriers. Sprint, once again, is the odd one out here, because it runs an unusual variant of LTE (TD-LTE) on an unusual frequency band (Band 41.)
A few phones support all four carriers by combining CDMA, GSM and LTE. The iPhone 6 and later; the Motorola Moto G4 and later; the Samsung Galaxy S7 and later; the Nexus 6 and later; the Google Pixel phones and the Moto E4 all work across all four carriers. Other manufacturers of unlocked devices generally don’t include CDMA radios because they don’t see a big market in unlocked phones being used on Sprint and Verizon.
So what does all of this mean for you? If you want to switch phones often, use your phone in Europe, or use imported phones, just go with AT&T, T-Mobile, or virtual carriers on those networks. Otherwise, pick your carrier based on coverage and call quality in your area and assume you’ll probably need a new phone if you switch carriers. Our Readers’ Choice and Fastest Mobile Networks awards are a great place to start.
So what do you do when you get writer’s block? In my case it’s write some more!!
Whenever I feel like the words aren’t flowing in my current project I take the time to return to the lives of my previous characters. At the moment I’m working on my Elemental Passions series so that means I go back to my wolves. If you want to take a look in to the lives of these wonderful people then get ready.
“No Tobias,” Alex said firmly as they walked towards the nursery, Alex striding ahead while Tobias trailed behind her.
“Xandria, the world is a dangerous place. We need to protect our girls.”
“You want to lock them up in a tower Tobias. That isn’t protection, it’s prison. This is the 21st century, you can’t do things like that anymore.”
Alex spun round on her heel and placed a finger firmly against his lips. “Tobias, I love you and the girls love you. I know what you’re worried about but they’re only three years old, in human years I might add. Boys are a long way off. Relax, when you worry it makes me worry.”
His wolf growled angrily at the idea that they might be causing their mate distress and he decided to drop the issue – for the moment. “Fine,” he conceded. “No tower.”
Alex smiled widely, placing a lingering kiss to his lips. “Good.” She turned and continued walking as though nothing was wrong leaving Tobias with his thoughts.
Dejected, Tobias walked continued walking the halls towards the nursery. His mother had instituted a girl’s day out once a month and today was the day. It left Tobias alone to care for three young infants, two of whom were already making him worry despite their age. As soon as he walked into the nursery and saw the smiling faces of his children his early anxiety faded away. He reached into their play pen, lifted each child and placed a kiss to their baby soft cheeks.
Already he could see the heartbreakers his two daughters would grow up to be and he could see the hearts he would have to literally break to keep them safe. Sighing, he reached for a sleeping Travis and stroked his downy soft black hair.
“At least I don’t have to worry about you.”
“Tobias?” Sebastian whispered, poking his head through a small crack in the door.
Sighing in relief, Sebastian walked into the room a baby seat in each hand and a very cheerful Wyatt carrying a third.
Tobias looked at the small babies his cousin carried curiously, a question blazing in his grey eyes. “Where’s Erica?”
“Alex and Chloe persuaded her to go on the provision that me and the babies stay here, where there’s lots of help. You’d think my mate didn’t trust me.”
“Chloe’s gone as well? I’m surprised Ryan let her go, she’s almost due to give birth.”
“I didn’t have a choice in the matter,” Ryan grumbled widening the crack in the door and stepping around a slow moving Wyatt to move to Tobias’ side. His hard features softened as he reached for Jasmine, smiling as she suckled his finger to test the strength of her one small tooth.
Sitting down after carefully arranging the baby seats, Sebastian turned to look at his cousin finally noting the stress that pinched his face. “What’s the matter Tobias?”
“Alex vetoed my tower idea again.”
“No,” Ryan cried. “The doctor said that Chloe is having twin girls. I was counting on your tower to keep them safe.”
“I’ve tried to explain that to Alex but she thinks it’s too medieval and how can I say no to my mate? There are going to be far too many stupid men out there that’ll try and use my girls because of their position. I won’t have it but I can’t be there for them all the time and Alex is thinking about sending them to human school for a year. Young pups I can deal with, they understand the consequences of trying to hurt the King’s young, they’ll have been taught that since the day they could understand words but humans?” He sounded as though the very idea terrified him.
“I don’t know how you’re going to cope Sebastian,” Ryan began. “Erica and Alex are planning to send Dylan and Wyatt to human school next year so that they can understand humans better. If it all goes well then Sophie is next.”
Sebastian smiled, looking down at his baby daughter before his eyes wandered to his sons, Matthew and Michael. His smile widening, he looked at Wyatt. “Wyatt come here for a second.” He motioned for the young boy to sit atop his legs and when he was settled wrapped an arm around his waist before turning to look at the frantic males in his family. “You two are going about this all wrong. This is how you protect your young. Wyatt, I think of you and Dylan as my family you know that right?”
“And what must you always do when it comes to family?”
“You have to protect them,” he answered simply.
“That’s right. Now look at Sophie, see how defenceless she is?” Wyatt nodded. “We have to protect Sophie because she can’t look after herself and we have to look out for Dylan because?”
“Because she’s too nice to people.”
“It’s not people I’m worried about. It’s other boys. You heard your uncles, you’re going to human school for a while next year and those boys don’t have the manners that we do. Sophie will be okay because she’s here with me but what about Dylan? Those boys will try and take advantage of her because she’s so nice. Dylan is too young to have a mate and Erica and I won’t be there, who’s going to look after her?”
“I will,” Wyatt growled angrily. “I’ll look after her. She’s my sister I can protect her.”
“Can you? Will you keep those boys away from her until her mate comes for her?”
“Of course I can.”
“You’re going to need to be strong. Sometimes Dylan might get annoyed with you but if you’re going to do this you have to stay the course. Can you do that?”
“Of course I can!” he reaffirmed, leaping to his feet.
Smiling, Tobias finally understood what Sebastian was doing. “Lily and Jasmine will need protection as well until Travis is big enough to look out for them.”
“I can do it uncle Tobias I promise.”
“Maybe you should get help,” Ryan suggested softly. “There are a lot of girls here already and when Chloe has our twins that’ll be another two. You can’t be everywhere at once.”
“You’re right. I know what to do.” With that Wyatt ran from the room filled with a sense of righteous purpose.
“And that,” Sebastian grinned. “Is how you look after your young without your mate ever getting mad at you. Erica can never stay angry with Wyatt for long and he’ll be able to be with Dylan and Sophie when we can’t be.”
“I knew you were the smart one for a reason.”
A moment of silence descended on the room before the three burst into simultaneous laughter, another woe of parenting solved.
At the sound of Wyatt’s timid voice, Sebastian turned away from his daughter and watched as Wyatt shuffled into the room. He looked to his brother, confusion shining from his eyes. Wyatt was never timid especially not when he was in his own home. The little boy’s behaviour instantly put him on his guard.
“I need to talk to you.”
Sebastian patted the sofa in invitation and Wyatt ran towards him.
“What do you need to talk about?”
“Mates,” he answered simply.
“What about them?”
“How do you know you’ve found them?”
Sebastian’s brow furrowed in confusion. “Why do you need to know that?” Though Wyatt was wise for his age he was still just a child. He didn’t need to know about how to find his mate for many years.
“Because I think I’ve found mine.”
“What?” Ryan shouted in excitement, his booming voice waking Matthew from his peaceful slumber. He quickly soothed the teary baby, rocking him gently until he was quite again. “Tell us everything,” Ryan demanded.
Excited by the prospect of Wyatt having found his mate so young, Sebastian pulled him close. “Yes, tell us everything.”
“Her name is Emily.”
“Pretty,” Sebastian admitted. “Tell us why you think she’s the one.”
“I – I went –”
“What did you do?” Ryan demanded.
“I went for a run a few days ago,” he admitted reluctantly, all too aware that he shouldn’t have gone into the woods alone.
Sebastian’s brow rose in annoyance. “If you weren’t telling me about this potential mate of yours I’d be very angry with you right now Wyatt. You know you’re not meant to wander off alone. What if something had happened to you? What would me and Erica have done?”
“It’s done now ‘Bastian,” Ryan interrupted, eager to hear what else Wyatt had to say. “He’s fine and I’m sure if something had happened to him Dylan would have known. You know just how well the bond between them is. It’s just as strong, if not stronger than ours and you always knew when I was in trouble.”
“You act as if I had a choice. If I wasn’t constantly trying to feel if you were in danger I don’t think we’d be sitting here having this discussion.”
“Whatever,” Ryan said dismissively, waving off Sebastian’s concerns. “We have more important things to worry about.” He turned his attention back to Wyatt. “So you were running in the forest this morning and…”
“There was this smell. It was so pretty…I had to follow it.”
Both Sebastian and Ryan nodded, remembering the pull that had drawn them to their mates.
“And then I saw her. She’s the most beautiful person in the whole entire universe.”
Their nodding stopped abruptly, neither able to agree with Wyatt’s claims when thoughts of their own mates were wandering through their minds.
“My wolf nearly took over. All it said was mine, mine, mine.”
Yup, Sebastian thought quietly. He’s definitely found her and so young too. He smiled widely, beaming from ear to ear with pride.
Wyatt’s smile faded and Sebastian’s eyes narrowed. There was something he wasn’t telling him. “What is it Wyatt?”
“I tried to go and say hello.”
“Obviously,” Ryan agreed.
“But he wouldn’t let me in.”
Sebastian’s eyes narrowed. “Who wouldn’t let you in?”
“Her daddy,” he said sadly. “I tried to explain that I just wanted to talk to her but he wouldn’t let me in. He told me to go home to my mummy and daddy. He said it wasn’t safe for me to be in the forest by myself.”
I’m not liking the sound of this, Sebastian thought carefully. “Go on,” he prodded.
“He wasn’t like us. He wasn’t a wolf.”
“Humans?” Ryan pushed. “There are no humans on our estates, just how far did you run?”
“To the town,” Wyatt answered sheepishly before he rushed to explain himself. “I just wanted to see the school. Alex and Erica say that me and Dylan are going to be going there soon and I just wanted to see what it looked like. I’ve never been to human school before. I smelled her at the school but I know we’re not allowed to change in front of humans so I followed her home.”
“And she didn’t see you?”
“She thought I was a puppy. When she got to her house I ran away and changed. I knocked on the door just like you taught me to Sebastian but her daddy was so mean. He wouldn’t let me anywhere near her. I really thought he was going to hurt me so I came home.”
“Have you been back?” Ryan asked knowing how strong the bonds between mates were. Even if Wyatt was young he wouldn’t have been able to resist seeing her again.
Wyatt nodded. “She’s just so pretty and she smells so nice.”
Drawing the young boy close, Ryan hugged him affectionately. “What does she smell like?”
“Cotton candy.” Ryan’s eyebrows rose but he said nothing and let Wyatt continue. “She smells so sweet. Whenever I smell her I get so hungry and all I want to eat after I’ve seen her is cotton candy.”
“Well that explains why you’ve been asking for so much of it,” Ryan said dryly. “But trust me when I say it isn’t going to be anywhere near as good as the real thing. You’ll see what I mean when you’re older.”
Sebastian had sat quietly throughout the conversation but his mind was reeling. Wyatt’s mate was human. She’d be dead before he reached maturity if action wasn’t taken. “Wyatt, I need you to tell me exactly where she lives. I’ll go and talk to her family. I’ll make them see reason.” And see what we can do about keeping her alive until you’re old enough to claim her.
Eager to be able to see his mate Wyatt quickly rattled off directions for Sebastian.
“I’ll be back soon Ryan, look after the kids.”
At Ryan’s nod of agreement Sebastian took off. He shifted as soon as he was clear of the door and sped off to the location Wyatt had given him. The woods blurred into nothing more than streaks of green and brown as his long stride ate up the terrain. Keeping the idea of a cotton candy fragrance at the forefront of his thoughts Sebastian quickly came to a clearing where a small cabin was nestled snugly between the trees.
Sharp golden eyes watched as he waited for the objection of Wyatt’s frustrations to come into view. He didn’t have to wait long. A little girl came running out of the house, her dark hair tied back in messy pigtails, her blue eyes intense as she picked flowers. The sweet smell of sugar drifted from her in waves…and so did something else. Sebastian took a final deep breath, ensuring he’d be able to find her wherever she was. His brows drawn tight in confusion he trotted away from the clearing shifting easily into his human form when he was far out of sight and hearing range. He reached for his phone and dialled his brother his lips drawn tight into a scowl.
“So?” Ryan teased. “Did you find her?”
“Of course I did.”
“Do you want the good news first or the bad news?”
“Give me the good stuff.”
“Well on the bright side, I scented her and she’s not human but the other scent coming from the cabin was. So my main concern is sorted, she isn’t going to die before Wyatt reaches maturity.”
“You’re right, that’s definitely good news. So tell me the bad news.”
“There’s no way I’m going to be able to talk Erica and Alex out of sending Dylan and Wyatt to human school now.”
Printing technology has grown so advanced over recent years that it’s relatively easy for scammers to forge cashier’s checks in their own basements. As a result, even bank employees may find it difficult to detect a fake, and it can take weeks before a counterfeit cashier’s check is discovered. What’s more, if you spend the funds prematurely, you’ll be liable for the unpaid check (and the resulting fees) once the bank discovers it’s fraudulent.
To help you protect yourself from such crimes, we’ve laid out instructions for verifying the validity of cashier’s checks, spotting the fake ones and reporting an incident if you are ever victimized in a scam below. For general information about cashier’s checks — such as where to buy them and how much they cost — please refer to WalletHub’s Cashier’s Check guide.
Cashier’s check scams come in various forms. The following table details the most common among them:
|Type Of Scam||Description||Signs It’s A Scam|
|Craigslist||Scammers offer to:-Buy an item you’re selling-Pay for your services in advance-Rent your apartment or rent their apartment to you
-Give you a “deal” on merchandise
-Give you a job (often to “receive customer payments”)
|If you’re selling merchandise, for instance, the scammer will ask you to provide your personal information for printing on a fake cashier’s check that’s usually written in a much higher amount than your asking price.The buyer will then ask you to return the excess amount, claiming he or she made a mistake and hope that you’ll send back legitimate money before you realize the check was fake.|
|Secret/Mystery Shopper||Scammers claim to be “hiring” people to:-Work from home-Become a secret shopper (often to “assess the quality” of a money transfer service)||In the telecommuting scenario, victims receive a fake cashier’s check as a starting bonus but are also asked to cover the cost of “account activation.” Scammers hope to receive account activation funds before the cashier’s checks would normally clear.In the mystery-shopping scam, victims are told to deposit a cashier’s check in their bank account and withdraw the amount in cash. They must then use a money-transfer service to send the funds to the scammer and “evaluate” the service.|
|Foreign Lottery||Scammers tell victims:-They won the lottery in a foreign country-They received an inheritance from someone’s estate||Victims are instructed in a letter to “claim” their lottery winnings or inheritance but must first pay “taxes and fees” before receiving their prize or money. A fake cashier’s check is enclosed to cover those taxes and fees, which the scammer asks the victim to wire back.|
|Scammers offer to pay by cashier’s check for:-Sale items posted on classified ads or online auction websites||The scammer often uses an excuse to write the check in a much higher amount than the sale price then asks the victim to wire back the difference after depositing the check in their bank account.|
What does a fake cashier’s check look like? It’s hard to tell. Neither consumers nor bank tellers know what to expect because every bank uses a unique design that’s intended to make counterfeiting its cashier’s checks difficult. Fakes also can be hard to distinguish when they’re created using high-quality home scanners and laser printers that lend the checks an appearance of authenticity.
Look for the signs listed in the following table to help you spot a fake cashier’s check.
|What To Look For||Description|
|Check Origin||A genuine cashier’s check will display a legitimate bank name, but many fakes will too. You can tell a check is fake if you can’t find legitimate information about the issuing bank online or if the check was mailed from overseas (as is often, but not always, the case).|
|Check Amount||Fakes are often written in an amount far exceeding the amount required, which is intended to coax the victim into wiring back the balance to the scammer.|
|Safety Features||Fakes are sometimes missing security thread, watermarks, microprints, color-shifting ink, instructions for the bank teller (on the front or back of the check), etc. On the other hand, they may contain these features — but in poor quality.|
|Payee Name||The payee’s name should already be printed on a cashier’s check (this is done at the bank by a teller). If the payee line is blank, the check is fake.|
|Bank Phone Number||A genuine cashier’s check always includes a phone number for the issuing bank. That number is often missing on a fake check or is fake itself.|
|Suspicious Communication||Scammers often communicate with their victims using poor grammar/spelling or vague language. They may also refuse to meet in person or send an email or a text message indicating they’re not from your area.|
|Fraud Alert||The Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) announces reported fraud cases on its website. If you received a cashier’s check from one of the implicated institutions — especially near the date the fraud was announced — you may have a fake. Keep in mind that the list includes only reported cases.|
How To Verify A Cashier’s Check:
Although the signs described in the above table may indicate forgery, they do not always guarantee that a cashier’s check is fake. It’s always a good idea to call or visit the bank before cashing or depositing a cashier’s check, whether or not you doubt its validity. However, do not contact the number that’s printed on the check, as it’s likely also a fake. Instead, search for the institution’s phone number online. Sometimes, the scammer will also use a legitimate routing number and account number on a check, so the bank will have to inspect the check for other indications of fraud.
Even the most cautious consumers can fall victim to cashier’s check fraud. If you find yourself in such an unfortunate situation, you need to report the crime immediately to the following:
According to the Office of the Comptroller of Currency, banks are ordinarily required to reimburse their customers for forged checks. However, that all depends on the circumstances of your case and your state’s laws. The bank can choose to investigate whether you deserve to be reimbursed, a process that may require you to first obtain a police report and file an affidavit.
However, a bank also can hold you liable for the entire amount of an unpaid cashier’s check then reverse the transaction upon discovering fraud. It will be your responsibility to pursue the party that issued the fraudulent cashier’s check to you.
If you think the bank did not handle your case properly, seek advice from an attorney about the applicable laws in your state — if you can afford to and if the amount of the check makes the dispute worthwhile. If you earn a low income, you can visit your local legal aid office.
Other Parties To Notify:
In addition, you should file a complaint with the following agencies or authorities to warn others and possibly get action on your case:
|Authority Or Agency||Types Of Cases Handled|
|Federal Trade Commission (FTC)||Scams & identity theft in general|
|U.S. Postal Inspection Service||Mail-based scams & identity theft|
|State Attorney General||Scams & identity theft in general|
|U.S. Secret Service – Financial Crimes Division||Bank & check fraud|
|Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – Internet Fraud Complaint Center||Internet-based scams & identity theft|
At some point, most people will buy a car or a house in addition to other major transactions that require a relatively safe payment tool. By following the tips below, you can avoid becoming a victim of a scam or fraud if or when it’s time to use or accept a cashier’s check:
A cashier’s check is a type of check issued by a bank or credit union and signed by a cashier or teller. Because the funds are drawn directly against the issuing bank’s cash reserves — not a customer’s personal account — the checks cannot bounce. The cashier’s signature, or “endorsement,” on the checks represents this payment guarantee.
Also known as a bank check, teller’s check or an official check, these special payment instruments typically cost about $7 on average and are used to make large transactions, such as the sale of a house or car, safer for all parties. You may also receive a cashier’s check after closing a deposit account that still has money in it.
Although cashier’s checks cannot bounce, they are nonetheless vulnerable to other dangers such as theft or fraud. And it’s not easy to deal with either problem.
Below, we provide an overview of cashier’s checks, including: where and how to buy them, how to cash them, whether they’re safe and what to do if they’re lost, stolen or damaged. Read on to learn more.
You can purchase a cashier’s check from most banks and credit unions. In most cases, however, you must do so in person and must have an account with the issuing bank. Some providers, especially large national banks, will cut the cashier’s checks to anyone for a fee, but you can expect to pay more if you don’t have an existing banking relationship with them.
With these guidelines in mind, the actual process of buying a cashier’s check is simple:
How To Get A Cashier’s Check:
Step 1: Establish Parameters & Bring ID – When you request a cashier’s check, the teller will ask for the following:
Step 2: Get An Autograph – Upon verifying your ability to pay for the amount in question, either the teller or a bank officer will sign the check.
Step 3: Pay The Piper – You’ll need to pay the check’s full face value as well as any applicable fees up-front. The fee is between $3 and $10 or a percentage of the check amount. The table below lists which payment types are typically accepted.
|Payment Option||Acceptable As Payment?|
|Bank Account Withdrawal|
*Requires obtaining cash advance, which is very costly on its own
Can I Buy & Send A Cashier’s Check Online?
Only a few banks such as Wells Fargo (branch-based) and Ally Bank (online-only) allow customers to buy cashier’s checks online. But that just gets you mail delivery. You can neither send someone a cashier’s check electronically nor use it for spending online.
That’s because ACH and wire transfers are considered the equivalents of an electronic cashier’s check in terms of security. As far as online shopping is concerned, your best bet is to simply use a credit card. All credit cards provide $0 liability guarantees that ensure you won’t have to pay for any fraudulent transactions.
You have 90 to 120 days from the date a cashier’s check is issued to cash it. When doing so, you’ll need to present a government-issued ID (e.g., driver’s license or passport) and possibly a second form of identification such as a credit card or utility bill.
Where To Cash A Cashier’s Check
The issuing bank is the only financial institution required to honor a cashier’s check, but other places may still allow you to cash it. That said, here are your options:
When Can I Spend The Funds From A Cashier’s Check I Deposited?
That depends on the check amount and deposit method. By law, the funds from a cashier’s check for $5,000 or less deposited in person at a bank branch will be available by the next business day. If your check is for a higher amount or was deposited using a different method (e.g., through an ATM), you can find the applicable rule on WalletHub’s Funds Availability guide.
Yes and no.
Cashier’s checks are often considered safer payment options than cash and personal checks because payment against them is always guaranteed — as long as they’re genuine. Once you’ve paid the face value of the check and the associated fee, if any, the bank will assume full responsibility for covering the check upon cashing. You only have to worry about the check bouncing if the issuing bank goes under, which is highly unlikely.
However, advanced printing technology has made it possible for fraudsters to forge cashier’s checks and even duplicate security features intended to guard them against illegal activity. As a result, a fake cashier’s check that you deposit can still clear. But you’re out the money plus the resulting bank charges if you spend the funds before your bank discovers the check is fraudulent, a process that can take weeks.
Check out WalletHub’s guide on cashier’s check fraud to learn how to protect yourself or what to do if you’re a victim of a cashier’s check scam. The next section covers the steps you’d need to take in the event your cashier’s check is damaged, destroyed, lost or stolen.
The physical nature of cashier’s checks makes them susceptible to damage, loss and theft. Unfortunately, you cannot simply “cancel” or request a stop payment on a bank-guaranteed item. The check can still be replaced or reissued if the situation warrants it, but the process can be painful. In this situation, you have two options:
It looks like a real check but has a better shot at quacking like a duck.
Phony cashier’s checks are being mailed to consumers, purporting to be installments for more lucrative prizes from a contest the “winners” never entered.
The dupe hinges on legitimate-looking bank drafts that convince unsuspecting recipients that they’ve hit pay dirt when in reality they’re being set up in a long-running scam that has cost consumers millions.
Consumers are told in an accompanying letter – in one scheme, it’s from the equally legitimate-sounding North American Prize Remittance Board – that the funds are to cover taxes and “clearance fees” needed to acquire a much larger cash prize, which they are told is sponsored by a number of high- profile, recognizable companies.
The consumer is typically instructed to deposit the check into his or her bank account and remit the same amount in a check to the sender.
By the time the bank discovers the bogus check, the consumer’s check has cleared, the scammers have made off with their money and the consumer is on the hook for all the money.
“There is no Prize Remittance Board,” said Colorado Assistant Attorney General Jan Zavislan, whose consumer-protection unit helps investigate the cases with the FBI. The phony cashier’s checks “look great because they have some official seal and are fancy. It’s all part of the scam.”
The latest incarnation is a cashier’s check supposedly drawn on an account at Woodforest National Bank, a legitimate institution in Houston with branches in 11 states. It has been the target of counterfeiters since at least 2004.
“It is unbelievable how far they go,” said Loretta Anderson, Woodforest’s vice president of fraud and risk management. “We simply won’t accept a cashier’s check, and our automated system rejects them.”
The checks are not limited to Woodforest. The National Association of Home Builders recently alerted people on its website that its checks were copied and used in a similar scam.
“I don’t think there’s a financial institution in America that hasn’t had their checks counterfeited,” Anderson said.
Federal authorities warn consumers to be alert for the scam, which can recur under a different guise with the same result.
“We see all kinds of variations of these schemes, and they are not new,” FBI spokeswoman Rene VonderHaar said.
Consumers who deposit the fake check – even just to keep it – can be held liable for the amount by their bank. And if the consumer sends the scammers a check, they’re out that money, too.
“A cashier’s check is not gold,” Zavislan said. “They are not guaranteed dollars. If you deposit it, you’re responsible for those funds.”
Sometimes, the victim is arrested erroneously. That’s because a bank, noticing a fraudulent check has been deposited, suspects the depositor of fraud.
The phone number listed on a letter sent with the phony Woodforest check is to Ontario, Canada, where the letter originated. It contained only a recording – in English and French – saying there was no more room for any messages.
The U.S. Department of Justice, with Canadian authorities, has issued warnings about check scams, saying the number of schemes has increased by more than 500 percent in the last four years.
Said Zavislan: “The big thing is not to accept at face value any check that a stranger sent you in the mail.”
Staff writer David Migoya can be reached at email@example.com