LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) -- This Rip-Off Alert is about protecting your identity and the importance of keeping your checkbook in a safe place.
We learned criminals are taking elaborate steps to get into your accounts. The bad guys in this case executed an elaborate scheme to steal thousands of dollars through a stolen check scheme.
“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. “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.”
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,” Hollier-Jackson said.
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,” Hollier-Jackson said.
They got a break when they identified a main suspect.
“He was the maker,” Hollier-Jackson said. “He was making checks at his house on printing equipment, old checks, that kind of thing. It was a wealth of information.”
When authorities attempted to take him into custody, he tried to destroy some evidence.
“He threw the computer out of a top window, trying to destroy it,” Hollier-Jackson 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.