THE COLUMBIA POLICE DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATING CHECK SCAMS
This is not an ordinary check scam. The Columbia Police Department is investigating well-planned and organized forgeries. The scam begins with a group from out of state. The group comes into town and steals local business checks. The group steals the incoming and outgoing checks for the purpose of obtaining the bank routing information and the authorized signatures on the business accounts.
The group counterfeits the stolen checks. The group will go to Kansas City or St. Louis to recruit homeless with a valid identification. The group will put the name of the homeless person on the checks and offers the homeless person clothing, food, lodging and money if the homeless person participates in the scam.
The homeless person goes into the bank that is listed on the check where the account is held to cash the check. The group typically waits in a vehicle nearby in sight of the homeless person who is cashing the check. The homeless person will give a signal to the group waiting in the vehicle once the transaction is complete or not completed. The homeless person will walk a certain distance from the bank and the group will pick up the homeless person and pay him the agreed amount for participating in the scam if it is successful.
Things for Businesses and Banks to Help Protect Against Check Scam:
1.) The banks in town provide a service to protect businesses accounts for a small fee to make sure accounts aren't compromised.
2.) Businesses assure mailboxes are empty prior to end of business.
3.) Businesses can use a P.O. Box to receive incoming checks.
4.) Businesses can use Anti Phishing devices to protect mail from being stolen from the mailbox.
5.) Banks need to be suspicious of local checks being cashed locally by persons outside of Boone County.