Protect Your Checks: Fox Valley Fraud Victim Shares Story to Hel - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

Protect Your Checks: Fox Valley Fraud Victim Shares Story to Help Others

Updated:
Neenah -

More than 4000 people fell victim to identity theft in Wisconsin in 2012.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, it's the number one consumer complaint across the country.

But a Fox Valley man wants to be more than just a statistic.  He's sharing what he's learned to help protect others. 

His story might have you think twice before doing something you might do every day - pay with a personal check.

5 checks, each for $2499 were written from what appeared to be the victim's account and cashed in California, Georgia and North Carolina.

"So we pulled copies of the checks and there were red flags all over the checks," said Tonni Larson, President of KimCentral Credit Union in Neenah.

The man's address, check numbers and the credit union logo were all wrong.

"I personally contacted him and said, 'I believe we have an identity theft issue here at the credit union,'" said Larson.

"You read about it and think, 'this can't happen to me,' and you've heard about it. There was initial panic," the victim said.

His bank account could have potentially been drained, not to mention the impact on his credit.

"After that initial shock, and knowing that they had my back--that my account was safe, but then it was the fear of what else?" the victim told us.

Once your personal information is compromised, you have to act fast.

"I called all three credit bureaus, locked down my identity," the victim said. "There's some safety precautions that are very simple to use. It's kind of annoying, but nice to do. I filed a police report, and just went through everything to put a barrier, a wall of protection around."

Besides requesting to remain anonymous for our interview, he tells Target 2 he has taken further steps to protect his personal information.

That includes closing down current accounts and opting for electronic banking over checks.

"There are so many hands that a check goes through from when you write it to when it actually clears your account," said Larson. "And you don't know who's touched it, who's made a copy of it, who's just jotted down important information. They need to go out and then create checks and have them clear in your account"

Larson offers this advice to protect yourself:

"Monitor your account and maybe not keep a lot of money in checking.   Transfer into savings and then transfer into checking as you need it, so if someone tries to write a large item, or to take money out of account someway, it'll alert the financial institution and hopefully prevent it from being lost."

The victim has no idea how his checks were stolen or copied.

Credit Union officials believe the counterfeit checks were used in a check cashing scheme, but the person responsible for the fraud has not been caught.

For more helpful information on identity theft or to report a case, click the following links:

http://ftc.gov/opa/reporter/idtheft/consumeradvice.shtml

http://www.onguardonline.gov/

 

 

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