Local bankers reporting high levels of fraud

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COLUMBIA – Boone County is experiencing a high level of fraud for both individuals and businesses in 2016, according to the Central Bank of Boone County. 

This fraud includes letters informing customers they have won a prize, fake business checks, phone calls pretending to be a relative in distress, fake debit and credit cards, dating site scams and fake emails from businesses.

“People have to be their own best asset when it comes to detecting fraud. They have to watch their accounts. They have to be skeptical. If it sounds to be good to be true, it is,” Mary Wilkerson said, vice-president of marketing for the CBBC.

Earlier this month, four suspects tried to buy $850 worth of shoes from Journeys, a shoe store in the Columbia Mall, using fake credit cards and fake ID’s. Manager Gabriel Herrington said he alerted authorities after a program on their computer system would not let the credit card go through. It showed the number on the front of the card and the magnetic strip on the back of the card did not match up.

“We check ID’s. We do what we can, but that last step is what caught them. So then we called security, we had them come in, they called the cops and they all got arrested,” Herrington said.

To prevent any type of fraud, CBBC Security Officer Reggie Wilhite said never share pin numbers with anyone, always shred mail, never click on unknown email links and watch personal bank accounts regularly.

Wilhite said the most important thing for victims of fraud is to contact the bank right away and to use their expertise to help with the situation.

“You definitely want to report it to your bank. All of the banks in town are experiencing this. This isn’t just unique to Central Bank of Boone County,” Wilhite said.

The Columbia Police Department said it was unable to release information about 2016 fraud data at this time.