Check scam uses homeless people to do the dirty work

2 years 2 months 2 weeks ago October 29, 2014 Oct 29, 2014 Wednesday, October 29 2014 Wednesday, October 29, 2014 2:45:00 PM CDT in News
By: Jessica Mensch, KOMU 8 Reporter
Embed Code Copied

COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department is investigating a check scam in which the culprits are bribing homeless people to front the crime.

Detective Steve Wilmoth, head of the investigation, said a group from out of town has been stealing local business checks to get bank routing information and authorized signatures.

The group counterfeits these stolen checks and goes to Kansas City or St. Louis to recruit homeless people with valid identification. The group will put the homeless person's name on the checks, and have the homeless person go in to cash the check.

"They are easy targets," Wilmoth said. "They're hard up for money and they're willing to do what ever they can for 50 or 100 dollars and a hot meal."

The group bribes homeless people to participate by offering money, places to stay, and food.

Most of the checks cashed are payroll checks, so the scam targets local businesses. Wilmoth said he has also seen some personal checks cashed that he believes are also in connection to the scam.

"Losses from the scam have totaled around $60,000 in Columbia," Wilmoth said.

Reggie Wilhite, vice president of operations and security for Boone County National Bank, said her bank has suffered.

"It took us a bit to catch on to their scheme, but I think we've got some plans in place now that will make it not as easy and make us not as much of a target in the future," Wilhite said.

She said the bank is looking at ways to make its check cashing policies stricter to better protect customers.

Wilmoth said he has been in contact with the United States Postal Inspection Office, which told him this is a national scam.

A media release from the Columbia Police Department outlined the following guidelines for businesses and banks to follow to protect themselves:

  • Businesses should assure mailboxes are empty prior to end of the business day.
  • Businesses can use a P.O. Box to receive incoming checks.
  • Businesses can use anti-phishing devices to protect mail from being stolen from the mailbox.
  • Banks need to be suspicious of local checks being cashed locally by persons outside of Boone County.

 

 

 

More News

Grid
List
CAMDEN COUNTY - Deputies took a suspect who stabbed three people Sunday into custody without incident. The suspect is awaiting... More >>
6 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 10:20:00 PM CST in Top Stories
BOONE COUNTY - The northbound lanes of Highway 63 near Hinton Road were closed after the engine compartment of a... More >>
7 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 9:49:07 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft are hoping to expan d services to Missouri customers... More >>
8 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 7:50:00 PM CST in News
GRANBY (AP) — Anoth er Missouri school district is c onsidering whether to join 18 others that have adopted a... More >>
9 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 7:46:03 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — Steven Hughes thought he found the perfect car for his family of five — until the title proving... More >>
11 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 4:59:00 PM CST in News
MARSHALL (AP) - Missouri authorities are searching for a suspected parole violator they say exchanged gunfire with a state trooper... More >>
12 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 4:27:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - A break in at popular downtown restaurant Cafe Berlin forced the restaurant to close Sunday, according to a... More >>
14 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 2:19:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Mixed reactions came out of mid-Missouri Sunday as the weekend ice storm began to wind down. While... More >>
16 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 12:07:00 PM CST in News
LAKE OZARK - After being stuck indoors waiting for this ice storm to end, some people might be getting a... More >>
23 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 5:42:00 AM CST in News
MONTGOMERY COUNTY - A man died at the hospital after a car crash on I-70 Saturday night, according to a... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 9:45:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Room at the Inn, Columbia's emergency winter shelter, will remain open through at least Sunday morning due to... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 8:11:17 PM CST in News
FREDERICKTOWN (AP) — Authorities say a 74-year-old woman was killed in a house fire in southeastern Missouri's Madison County. ... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 4:22:00 PM CST in News
PLATTE CITY (AP) — Missouri authorities say one of 13 occupants of a van was killed when the vehicle crashed... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 3:29:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Works sent home all but eight members of its street crew Saturday afternoon because of the... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 2:43:00 PM CST in News
PULASKI COUNTY - A man was arrested after pointing a rifle at deputies and possibly endangering a female and several... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 2:43:00 PM CST in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A southwes tern Missouri man has been ordered to spend two decades in prison for sexually abusing... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 1:32:08 PM CST in News
---UPDATED SUNDAY MORNING (1/15/17)--- MID-MISSOURI - Our Live Doppler 8 First Alert Weather Team has been tracking this ice... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 12:02:00 PM CST in Weather
COLUMBIA - University of Missouri officials continue to monitor the forecast and urge students to check the weather in preparation... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 11:55:00 AM CST in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 37°
5am 35°
6am 36°
7am 36°
8am 37°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

4:30a
KOMU 8 News Today
5:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
6:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
4:30a
Paid Program
5:00a
Paid Program
5:30a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Celebrity Apprentice
9:00p
Timeless
7:00p
Howie Mandel All-Star Comedy Gala
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld