by: Jason Stoogenke Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Consumers are hearing a lot about protecting credit and debit card information, especially with the high-profile data breaches at Target and other places.
Action 9 investigator Jason Stoogenke knows many con artists go after bank checks instead.
Stoogenke was speaking with a Secret Service agent. He gave a step-by-step plan on how to make a fake check. However, he asked for Action 9 not to spread the word so people don’t get bad ideas and make you a victim, like Steven Newell.
Newell said that he’s actually very organized, so methodical and he makes sure he always tracks his bank accounts.
“We don’t overdraw,” Newell said. “We just don't do it.”
He was surprised when his bank called and told him what happened. Apparently someone made eight fake checks, with his account number on them, and passed them at eight Food Lions in the Charlotte area within a 24-hour period.
“I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat. I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown,” Newell said.
The checks were passed around the University area with a total damage of $961.18.
The Secret Service, which investigates counterfeit money crimes, said always shred checks you throw away. Don’t mail bills from your own mailbox. Be careful paying with checks at businesses you don’t know well and make sure people who work in your home don’t have access to your checks.
“Does it garner as much attention as credit card fraud or data breaches do these days? Probably not,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Glen Kessler with U.S. Secret Service. “But it’s still there and it still something that the consumer has to be concerned with.”
Newell closed his account right away, but isn’t sure how someone got his account number in the first place.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers said the case is not tied to one a few weeks ago, when police and federal agents rounded up more than a dozen suspects tied to an alleged ring that brought in more than $1 million.