Check forgery may occur more often in the big cities, but the Brazos Valley is beginning to see it's share as well. Several forgery arrests have been made over the last few months and police say it takes a watchful eye to catch a fake check.
Check forgery is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country and banks will need to keep a lookout for those trying to cash in. Criminals are not only forging signatures on personal checks, they're also duplicating payroll checks.
" We see a variety of different styles. We have some people who manufacture checks with home computers. Others will steal checks from the mail and make copies of them. Others will take a legitimate check form a friend and copy that and try to cash it," said Sgt Mike Dean with College Station Police.
Bank employees are usually trained to spot fraudulent documents, but it's difficult to estimate how much money banks have lost due to forged checks.
Police offer these tips to prevent your information from getting into the wrong hands.
Don't leave your paycheck, paycheck stub, or any other checks made out to you lying around or easily accessible. The same goes for your I.D and checkbook. If you suspect these items are being used for fraudulent activity, file a police report immediatly.
" Forgeries have been a continuing problem here. It happens quite frequently. Sometimes we'll see people from out of town who will come in and try to hit what they fell would be an easier target here in small towns," said Sgt Dean.
Those who have gotten away with cashing a forged check in the past might not want to press their luck again. Many banks are getting high tech devices to help identify fake checks. Forgery is a felony and could land you in prison as well as paying thousands in fines and restitution to any victims.