Safe from Scams: Check Washing

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- "A gang of people that were addicted to methamphetamine." That's who started up an illegal check washing scam to bankroll their habit according to a U.S. Postal Inspector.

"You get a chemical, you put it in a little wash bin, you can put a check in there, and the hand written ink will come off, and you can therefore use that check and put whatever you want in there," said Troy Sabby, U.S. Postal Inspector.

The ten con men were making checks out to fake names and producing phony identifications. "These people were able to get a hold of blank temporary driver's license copies. And so then they were able to put whatever information they needed on there and they were very good at it," said Sabby.

There were hundreds of victims. "It's a fairly simple crime for the suspect to do, and it's a very hard crime for the victims to wash what they did to them away," said Sabby.

The losses were not only financial -- many were personal. "There were checks that were going you know to nephews and to grandchildren for birthdays and you know they find out later that their grandchild didn't get their check and you know what is that kid thinking on their birthday," said Sabby.

Some advice from postal inspectors -- check your bank and credit cards statements daily to make sure there are no erroneous charges.
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