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Rip-Off Alert: Scammers target checks through mail service

(News 3)
(News 3)
Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 11/13/2012 2:02 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- While many of us bank online, millions of people-- including small business owners -- still send payments by checks through the mail.

But there is a new wave of thieves who are stealing and then forging checks in an elaborate scheme.

Donna Sundberg is understandably frustrated. She says she felt violated after learning one of her company's checks for $40,000 was stolen.

"The criminals out there have thought an over an abundance of getting a scam and it can't be … we've got to put a stop to it,” she said. "The check was in the mailbox at the vendor’s location, and the mail was stolen, perhaps on a Saturday nobody around."

Sundberg is not alone. Thousands of people have fallen victim to the same scam.

Postal inspectors say an elaborate and often intricate process is doing a lot of damage. In fact, one suspect in a recent case had more than $800,000 worth of checks -- affecting 177 victims.

"Found in our suspects home were many numerous computers, high quality color printers and scanners, as well as magnetic bar code readers and scanners, these were made to make phony ID's and phony checks," said Michael Van de Putte, U.S. Postal Inspector.

Sundberg says her company is taking steps to see this doesn't happen again.

"We have put into place with our bank goals and fraud protection,” she said. “Whenever I issue a check, I send it to our bank, and if it's not on the list I send, they call is this an issue?"

Postal inspectors say it is also important to always check your credit. You are entitled to three different credit reports from three credit agencies.

In an effort to secure your identity and finances, postal inspectors also recommend you shred documents that contain personal information before discarding them in the trash.
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