Check scam uses homeless people to do the dirty work

3 years 10 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, October 29 2014 Oct 29, 2014 Wednesday, October 29, 2014 2:45:00 PM CDT October 29, 2014 in News
By: Jessica Mensch, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

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
JEFFERSON CITY - After cross examination Tuesday, the defense in the Missouri Voter ID trial presented their first witness in... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 7:08:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Hundreds of students registered to vote on the University of Missouri campus Tuesday. The Associated Students of... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 6:13:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
CANTON, MA (CNN) - Starting in January, Dunkin' Donuts will drop the "Donuts" from ads, packages and signage at new... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 5:39:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A police officer hurt his leg while trying to stop a man he caught breaking into a... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 5:31:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Screenshots of text messages show former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' staff used a message-deleting app on... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 4:33:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Taxes on Chinese imported goods could make home building and renovating more expensive. According to CNBC ,... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 3:44:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
MILLER COUNTY - A tri-state drug deal operation led to a murder in Miller County in June, according to the... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 3:09:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A historic building in Jefferson City continues to collapse, with another piece breaking off Monday morning. ... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 2:42:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The plaintiff in the Missouri voter ID case presented a witness and expert Tuesday who said the... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 2:25:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A teenager pleaded guilty in connection with a 2016 homicide on Claudell Lane, but prosecutors dropped a murder... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 11:52:00 AM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
CHILICOTHE - A Holts Summit woman convicted of murdering her husband died in prison, according to an obituary published by... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 11:36:00 AM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- President Donald Trump stepped up to the iconic dais at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday on... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 11:17:14 AM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson says state tax credits for low-income housing won't be issued until... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 10:36:00 AM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- Matthias Katsch says he was 13 years old when a priest at his Jesuit school in Berlin first... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 10:29:43 AM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
MARIES COUNTY - A K-9 unit found a large amount of drugs in a truck caught speeding in Vichy, the... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 9:35:00 AM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - 'Welcome Home' and 'Cars4Heroes' gave a new car to an Army veteran who now makes a living out... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 8:03:00 AM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - In the past the the Roots N Blues N BBQ festival has consisted of three days of music,... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 7:32:00 AM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - JEFFTRAN will host an open house Tuesday to discuss proposed changes to the city’s existing bus routes. ... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 2:03:00 AM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 60°
12am 60°
1am 58°
2am 55°
3am 54°