Forgery and Fraud
When you receive a check back from the bank and it is stamped “forged,” your business can use the following protocol to help us prosecute these offenders:
- If the bank verifies the check as forged, obtain a forgery affidavit from the bank as soon as possible.
- Contact the police immediately after obtaining the check and the forgery affidavit.
- Try not to compile numerous checks or delay reporting. Contact us even if you only have one check.
Please have the following information ready for the officer when he or she arrives on the scene to take the report:
- Identity of the clerk who accepted the check and his or her name, address, and phone number.
- Number of the register where the check was accepted and the date and time the check was accepted.
- Whether the forger received merchandise, cash, or both when passing the check.
- Information on the suspect if the clerk, manager, or any other employee remembers the sale. Even small bits of information will assist our case (i.e., white female, black male, short or tall, mustache, etc.).
- We will need the actual check and the original forgery affidavit from the bank. We can provide you with a copy if you wish to have one for your records.
Some of you may have a large volume of customers at one time. If you take some time to examine the checks at the register, you can save yourself thousands of dollars. If your business takes customer checks, be very careful when reviewing and accepting them. Pay close attention to details on the check.
Tips to Prevent Forgeries at the Register
- Examine the check thoroughly for smear marks such as carbon on a copy machine. If it looks like it is copied, it probably is.
- Examine the company or bank name, especially if it is a local company, to verify its existence or whether they are still in business.
- Examine the check for perforations. Each check is torn out of a book, whether from the top or the side.
- Examine the personal information listed by the check owner. Don't just ask if the information is correct. Verify it by the owner's driver's license or other identification form.
- Always be on guard when accepting a check from someone who asks for part of it in cash and part in merchandise.
- Always verify that the signed name on the bottom is the same name listed as the owner at the top of the check.
- If the check doesn't seem right or the customer has no identification, check with a manager before accepting it. If you suspect anything, there may be a reason.
- Do not accept a check with whiteout or any other corrective paint if possible.
- Write down on the check any form of identification they have in their possession, preferably a driver's license number (note which state), and verify the identity of the picture on the ID to the check passer. We realize that some of you may have a large volume of customers at one time. If you take just a little time to examine the checks at the register, you can save yourself thousands of dollars. If your business takes customer checks, be very careful when reviewing and accepting them. Pay close attention to details on the check. Here are some tips to help you prevent this.
- Pay close attention to the check amount and written number amount on the second line to ensure they match and someone hasn't altered the check amount by changing the numbers. Pay close attention to numbers that can be easily altered, such as 3s and 8s. If the check looks altered, then it may be. Let a manager verify if it looks suspicious.
- Look closely at the written amounts. Look for varied amounts by addition of writing, such as changing nine to ninety.
- Have each clerk who takes a check place their initials on the top corner when they accept it.
- Place an inkless pad next to each register and have every person who pays with a check place their thumbprint on the left side. This is an excellent tool to deter possible forgeries.
- Check numbers: be suspicious of low check numbers. Most bad or "NSF" checks bear numbers of less than $.
- Don't be afraid to slow the transaction down long enough to verify that it's a sound check. Good criminals will count on the fact that you are busy and won't take the time to verify the check's validity.
Other Helpful Sites
Social Security Administration
If you suspect someone is using your social security number to obtain employment, contact the Social Security Administration's fraud hotline at 800-269-0271. Order a copy of your Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement (PEBES) to check the accuracy of your work history on file with the Social Security Administration. You can obtain a PEBES application at your local Social Security office or http://www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount/
The IRS established the Identity Protection Unit to assist taxpayers in resolving identity theft issues. Victims can call 800-908-4490 Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Additional information is available at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Taxpayer-Guide-to-Identity-Theft
Federal Trade Commission
This website is a one-stop national resource to learn about the crime of identity theft. It provides detailed information to help you deter, detect, and defend against identity theft. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/
Attorney General Of Texas
The Office of the Attorney General provides valuable information related to identity theft. A step-by-step resource guide is available at www.texasfightsidtheft.gov
Internet Crime Complainant Center
Internet Crime Complainant Center (IC3) is an alliance between the National White Collar Crime Center and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It provides a central point to report internet-based crime. www.ic3.gov
Little Black Book of Scams
This booklet describes the many types of frauds and Internet scams that suspects use to target citizens and steal their money. It was initially developed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and reproduced by the Canadian Competition Bureau.
US Postal Inspection Service
If you suspect your mail has been stolen or diverted with a false change-of-address request, contact your local postal inspector at https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/ or by calling 800-275-8777.
Annual Credit Report
This central site allows you to request a free credit report once every 12 months from each nationwide consumer credit reporting company: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. https://www.annualcreditreport.com