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Arghh...forged checks

engineer4lifeengineer4life Posts: 366Registered User Member
edited November 2012 in Parent Cafe
It's just frustrating when you have a problem that the person on the other phone doesn't comprehend.

A while ago, my house was robbed, expired drivers licenses taken, and now criminals are having a hey day in my name. They buy blank checkstock (you can buy unprinted checks on eBay / Craigslist and use your laser printer to print checks), print up phony bank information with my name on it, and go around using them at various stores.

When the checks are returned, they are sent to the store's collection agency, who would much rather I simply paid the bad check than argue with them.

Usually they require a police report - I can't provide that because it's an active criminal investigation and the police department won't release it.

Some of them say they need to view that the stolen check was listed on the items stolen from my house. When I try to say that the check used wasn't stolen (it was a fake check printed in my name), you can tell I lose them.

And sometimes they tell me to go talk to the bank listed on the check. I don't have an account with the bank listed on the check, so I can't go "talk to them." I'm not a customer of that bank.

Oh well, they can take me to court if they want me to pay. I'll provide the information I have, and if they think it's not enough, too bad.

It does make me ask the question - why do stores take checks anymore.
Post edited by engineer4life on
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Replies to: Arghh...forged checks

  • NJresNJres Posts: 5,247Registered User Senior Member
    Not that it will make much difference, but I would describe the checks as "counterfeit" letting them know the check was created rather than stolen. Sounds like a nightmare.
  • SteveMASteveMA Posts: 6,079Registered User Senior Member
    I don't know if this officially falls under "identity theft" but check your homeowner's insurance and your company HR department to see if you have any coverage for this. We have the coverage both places and they can assist you with this issue if it is "identity theft".
  • engineer4lifeengineer4life Posts: 366Registered User Member
    I would describe the checks as "counterfeit" letting them know the check was created rather than stolen.

    I've never used the term stolen regarding my checks. The collection agency calls them stolen, but it's not accurate. They pretend they don't understand how people can just print checks on the laser printer.
  • MyLBMyLB Posts: 1,102Registered User Senior Member
    So sorry. Many years ago, we'd just moved to a new city and somebody stole DH's initial 200 checks from a new checking account. Guy had a fake DL made up (with a different middle name), and had himself quite the shopping spree. I know people don't do this anymore but just as a caution--what really helped in our case was that he didn't have his SSN printed on them (my parents used to always do this cuz it was same as your DL number back then).

    Anyway--all of the merchants were quite understanding but it went on for two years. Arghh is right.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 32,340Registered User Senior Member
    When you contacted the police initially, did you file a police report? Or did the police contact you?

    You might want to print out a mass letter to send to area stores as well as area police depts, letting them know of the fraud and how to
    Contact you.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 34,631Registered User Senior Member
    The collection agency calls them stolen, but it's not accurate. They pretend they don't understand how people can just print checks on the laser printer.

    That is because most collection agencies are shady types who are chasing mostly deadbeats who are often even shadier. Unfortunately, if they attack a non-deadbeat, there is almost no way to convince them to go away, other than the very specific procedures in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, because whatever truthful reasons you tell them that you are not the deadbeat that they are looking for have been used as lies by actual deadbeats.

    FTC Office of the Secretary - Fair Credit Reporting Act Links
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 34,631Registered User Senior Member
    MyLB wrote:
    I know people don't do this anymore but just as a caution--what really helped in our case was that he didn't have his SSN printed on them (my parents used to always do this cuz it was same as your DL number back then).

    Of course, criminals can do a lot of worse things with SSNs, since so many institutions (particularly financial) use it as the "secret key" to your information.
  • lizardlizard Posts: 2,837Registered User Senior Member
    Check forgery and homemade printing of checks is apparently widespread today. I tried cashing at my bank a bank cashiers check I got from someone and the teller gave me grief and explained they were seeing a lot of forged official looking bank cashier checks. Now days, because of bad checks being printed wholesale by crooks, when people want 'right now' money from you they won't even readily take a bank cashiers check anymore but will demand cash in hand or a wire transfer.
  • jym626jym626 Posts: 35,369Registered User Senior Member
    You should request something in writing from the police. I you filed a report you should be entitled to a copy of the report you filed. If the amounts of these counterfeit NSF checks is large, they could charge you with a felony, and you become a double victim. Have you spoken with an attorney? A legal consultation is well worth the money, IMO.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 32,340Registered User Senior Member
    I wonder if those collection agencies are legit.
    Who's Calling? That Debt Collector Could Be a Fake
    I'm also unclear as to how someone would be allowed to open a legitimate account without a valid drivers liscense or are you saying this is a sophisticated scheme that is turning out fake cards?
    Even our grocery store has a check scanner so they scan the check which tells them if it is fake or not then they give it back to you because they have all the info they need.
    It's curious that these stores which are trying collect didnt have security measures in place.
    Coincidence or are they in on it?
  • engineer4lifeengineer4life Posts: 366Registered User Member
    I you filed a report you should be entitled to a copy of the report you filed.

    No, it's an active criminal investigation, so the police department doesn't release any information about it. It's state law. Once the investigation is closed, then they'll provide a copy. Bill collectors tell me that it's unacceptable to wait, they need information right now. Oh well, they won't get it.
    Even our grocery store has a check scanner so they scan the check which tells them if it is fake or not then they give it back to you because they have all the info they need.

    Since 5 or 7 checks were used at the major grocery stores, it is pretty clear that those machines don't work very well.
  • lizardlizard Posts: 2,837Registered User Senior Member
    Some of these check forgers print the checks right in the grocery store parking lot and then go into store and use the bum checks....not as easy solving problem as it might seem.

    Authorities: Suspects arrested in Hernando involved in check fraud at Publix stores - Tampa Bay Times
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 32,340Registered User Senior Member
    I agree with Jym, you need an attorney.

    I've had to deal with identity theft before, but from someone who was trying to access my actual account which my bank notified me about.

    This stuff with accounts that don't even exist yet they are able to get merchandise from stores without working security measures, (& why do they only hit those stores?), is way over my head, I'd find someone who knew more about it- like did it for a living.
  • engineer4lifeengineer4life Posts: 366Registered User Member
    This stuff with accounts that don't even exist yet they are able to get merchandise from stores without working security measures,

    What has become very clear to me, as well as to anyone else that has had this happen to them, is that checks do not contain adequate counterfit protection. Before the days of laser printers, laptop computers, and readily available blank checkstock, it was difficult to counterfit a check. Today, it is very easy. All you need is an ID that appears to be a valid drivers license and a printer and off you go.

    Clearly, either merchants need to stop accepting checks or banks need to develop adequate security measures that can be used to quickly authenticate a check.
  • jym626jym626 Posts: 35,369Registered User Senior Member
    What does something being an active investigation have to do wth getting a copy of the report you filed? You are asking only for documentation that you are the victim of a crime you reported.

    But, if they wont give it to you, all the more reason to call an attorney.
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