Police Searching for Bogus Check Cashers
Posted October 30, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST
WILSON — Money may make the world go round; but thieves keep the money moving. One group of criminals is papering one community with bad checks. It's adding up to thousands and thousands of dollars in losses.
Police say a group of men are cashing hundreds of dollars worth of checks that they know are bogus. Each suspect confidently endorses what looks like a payroll check, then holds out his hand for cash.
"This is very different," says investigator Renee Smith. "Most of the time, we have checks that are just forged or uttered. Here we have checks that have actually been made."
Since Saturday, 30 of these checks have turned up in Goldsboro and Wayne County, costing stores and banks around $20,000 dollars. Even experts say it's difficult to tell them from the real thing.
One a real check from a packing company in Greene County is very similar to a fake one, even down to the smallest details. Police say some computer handiwork may have done the trick.
Business Professor Lorraine Raper says whoever is churning out the bogus checks is using our own technology against us. With the right computer program, you can print your own checks at home, and just about any business can print checks if it's authorized to do it.
"It certainly opens up the door for a lot of creative opportunities, and there are lots of creative people out there in regards to technology and what they can do with it," Raper says.
Police say although the fake checks are very believable, the one thing the criminals have failed to do is replicate a watermark and a hologram on the back of the checks.