Check Fraud Ring Targets Osceola Homeless
Using people who are homeless to cash counterfeit checks has become a booming and profitable scam that basically works like this: it starts by stealing incoming and outgoing checks from a local business. This provides the scammers with the bank routing information and proper signatures for the accounts.
Then they look for a homeless person with an ID and offer to buy clothing, lodging, fast food meals and money in exchange for putting the homeless person’s name on the checks.
The homeless person uses his or her own identification card. The check is cashed, the homeless person turns over the amount of the cashed check to the scammer, who is typically from out of state and driving an out-of-state rental car. The bank has the homeless person’s identification, and the bank’s cameras have the homeless person on tape cashing the check. The homeless person gets arrested and goes to jail, sometimes for months and often they are ordered by the courts to repay the amount of the counterfeit check.
Meanwhile, the check-cashing ring gets all the cash and remain free at large and they just move on to the next person to prey upon.
We must fight back!
Call to Action: if you are working closely with the homeless, or know of anyone that is please tell your clients of this scam immediately. We all must stay vigilant and report anyone who approaches the homeless and ask them to cash a check. If you find yourself in this situation take notice of the car’s license plate number or any other details and call police immediately. If you have a phone with a camera, take a picture of the vehicle and text the image to the police. If the tips result in a successful federal prosecution of a counterfeiter and it involves stealing mail, the U.S. Postal Service can pay as much as $50,000.