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Check cashing scam hits Rexburg; people taking the bait

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: Jan 31 2013 06:48:38 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 31 2013 07:13:51 PM CST

Check fraud is one of the most common scams. It provides criminals with an easy and non-confrontational way to steal your money.
Dozens of these scams have popped up in the Upper Valley.

REXBURG, Idaho -

Check fraud is one of the most common scams. It provides criminals with an easy and non-confrontational way to steal your money.

Dozens of these scams have popped up in the Upper Valley.

Rexburg police detectives say this particular scam targets those looking for work; using Craigslist and even the BYU-Idaho Help Wanted website, scammers have access to a wide range of targets.

"Do your homework. Contact them, ask for information on their companies and then go out and verify it," said Chuck Kunsaitis.

Rexburg police detective Chuck Kunsaitis is investigating several dozen fraudulent check cashing cases. Even he admits it can be tricky to spot a phony check.

"It's hard because the checks have real account numbers on them from actual banks," said Kunsaitis. "So when they first process the check, the bank thinks its legitimate."

How it works is people fall for phony job ads on Craigslist or a community help wanted page. The scammer send them a check for supplies, asks them to cash it and then return part of the sum.

"By the time the check clears the bank, there are no funds to cover that check," said Kunsaitis. "Then you're on the hook for however much money you cashed your check for."

Kunsaitis said time is on your side when dealing with criminals.

Having your bank or the Better Business Bureau inspect a check before you cash will protect you; and live by an important rule -- if it's too good to be true, it probably is.

You may be wondering how scammers are able to get away with this trick.

In most cases, it can take banks up to seven days or even longer to realize the check is a fraud.

Then it bounces and you're paying for it ... literally.

If you live in Rexburg and think you've been contacted by a scammer, call the Rexburg police at (208) 359-3008.

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