Banks fight counterfeit checks - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Banks fight counterfeit checks

Nita Gaines of the Artesian Financial Group Nita Gaines of the Artesian Financial Group

August 14, 2003

Albany-- Nationwide it is an epidemic, and still growing, and counterfeit checks are becoming more common at local banks.

Bankers and Police gathered for a strategy session, to see if there are ways to keep fake checks and identity fraud from growing in South Georgia.

The banks say counterfeit checks are not an overwhelming problem yet, and they don't want it to be.

Nita Gaines of the Artesian Financial Group said "Bankers are very concerned about what is happening with their customers. The Police Officers are very concerned because they are trying to help people resolve these problems. And they are trying work together, to network. Thieves can steal your check I.D. numbers, then print counterfeit checks, and make off with your money and a store's merchandise... all in just a matter of hours."

Albany Police Sgt. Darin Abner said, "I look at it as being a billion dollar a year industry. So much fraud is going on. It's occuring. And it's not just in this country, it's worldwide. It's a big thing and it all just goes down to greed."

Regular home computers and check printing paper is all that is needed to make counterfeit checks. The most practicle way to stop the theft is to guard your financial information.

Gaines said "It's a local problem. It can happen to any of us, and we need to be taking the steps that we can take on a local basis to educate the community."

The best ways to protect your financial identity are to limit the number of accounts you have, keep a close eye on your monthly statements, and use post office boxes to mail your bills, rather than your home mailbox.

posted at 4:35PM by dave.miller@walb.com