I love that the author starts off by calling this a case of the clueless banks, because this is the way that I have felt for years. When we were hit with our Counterfeit Cashier's Check Scam, which works the same way as the Money Order Scam the author talks about in this story, our bank told us that the cashier's check would be verified as good and clear in 24 hours. When we questioned that answer they assured us that 24 hours was all that it took for it to be "verified".
Back then, I assumed that this meant that someone at the bank actually did something to "verify" that the cashier's check or money order was good. You would think with all of the computer programs out there that they could have a system where you enter the check information and it would tell you if it that check was written on a bad account or if the account had enough funds in it to cover that check . . . and last time I checked, the phone system still worked for the bank to call the issuing bank to "verify" all of this.
So, a week after we deposited the cashier's check that we were sent, we got a call from our bank telling us that it was counterfeit and that we were liable for the entire amount. I asked them how this could be true since they told us that the check was "good", "verified" and that the "funds were available". They informed us that when we signed the check we became liable for the full amount, and that if we wanted to know for sure that it was good we should have called the issuing bank . . . funny . . . that is what I thought THEY were going to do when they said that they were going to "verify" the check!
But it gets better . . . as we were battling the bank and speaking with the Loss Prevention Department my husband asked them "So, how long does it REALLY take for a cashier's check to clear?" After asking her supervisor, the person we were speaking with told us "24 hours", to which we responded, "If that were true, we would not be having this conversation with you right now."
And that is why I agree with the author of this article that the banks are clueless.