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FBI Warns of Counterfeit Check Schemes in WI
Financial institutions, if you come across a similar case (see the FBI alert Below) and have corresponding photos, please let FRPA know. We will share the information anonymously, along with the general area the individual(s) may have visited or are heading towards. Financial institutions are encouraged to alert their local law enforcement agencies in advance.
The FBI is aware that financial institutions throughout Wisconsin are being targeted by individuals operating a variety of counterfeit check schemes utilizing fake identities to open accounts and cash fraudulent payroll checks.
One such scheme has been identified where the individual claimed to have just moved to the local area as a traveling nurse/home health care provider. The said individual utilized a fake Georgia ID, a paystub from an in-home healthcare provider, and a residential lease for an apartment with a Wisconsin address. The individual was able to open the account and utilized a counterfeit check to make an initial deposit. The individual then attempted to cash counterfeit checks utilizing the account. The financial institution was able to catch the fraud prior to taking a loss.
In another instance, an individual utilized a fake US passport card to cash a counterfeit check utilizing another individual's account.
Please remain vigilant during this holiday period. If your institution encounters such scams, please get in touch with local law enforcement.
SA Mark Person
FBI Milwaukee, Madison Resident Agency
There is reason to believe that the individual(s) in question may have been in the Madison area, and there is a possibility that others may be traveling west (likely I-94, I-90, I-35). However, the available intelligence is only partially reliable.
If you encounter a transaction that appears suspicious and resembles the one described below, even if it is declined, please let your local police know and ask them to relay the information to the FBI. Providing photo images, copies of ID, copies of the check, and vehicle plate details can be helpful. SAR reporting is always welcome, regardless of the transaction amount.
Ring leaders are instructing individuals on how to communicate with financial institution employees. Please always follow your financial institution's check cashing policies, perform Know Your Customer (KCY) procedures before opening accounts, and consider implementing fund verification holds before approving new accounts or check cashing.
Do Not make biased decisions or draw conclusions based on this alert or the appearance of the individual when handling requests to cash checks or open accounts. Follow your financial institution's established policies. You can delay, place holds on transactions, or decline until funds can be verified based on your FI's policies and practices.