Stolen check scam


DETROIT, Mich. – It's an old scam with new victims.  Criminals are taking elaborate steps to get into your bank accounts.

"Our bad guys like money, as most people do, but they don't want to work for it," said U.S. Postal Inspector, Essialani Hollier-Jackson.

The bad guys in this case executed an elaborate scheme to steal thousands of dollars through a stolen check scheme.

"They are counterfeiting the checks, putting a new name on the checks with the same banking information. The account number is correct, which is what the bank is checking …and they have ID that matches the name on the check," explained Hollier-Jackson.

Then, the suspects went shopping. In one case: $350,000 in losses.

"Designer clothing, designer bags, very nice bags, but a lot of shopping because a lot of the items were then resold or reused," said Hollier-Jackson.

Postal Inspectors began tracking the case and pinpointed exactly where the checks were being used to pay for goods.

"By checking the checks we were able to go back and pull some video from stores and we were able to find some persons we wanted to talk to," added Hollier-Jackson.

Inspectors got a break when they identified their main suspect.

"He was the maker. He was making checks at his house on printing equipment, old checks that kind of thing," she said. "It was a wealth of information."

And when authorities attempted to take him into custody, Hollier-Jackson explained what happened when authorities attempted to take him into custody.

"He threw the computer out of a top window, trying to destroy it," she said. "Criminals are pretty smart -- until they aren't pretty smart. He was really just handing it to us -- or more like throwing it at us."

Postal Inspectors say one of the best ways to protect yourself and your finances is to check your monthly bank statements for any irregularities as well as an annual credit check.

Everyone is entitled to one free check every year with each of the three credit reporting agencies. The Better Business Bureau of Northeast Florida recommends the website AnnualCreditReport.com.  It has step-by-step instructions and links to all three credit bureaus.