Police Investigating Check Frauds, Banks Hoping You'll Change to Debit

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Writing out a check may seem harmless, but it could get you into financial trouble. A Lincoln resident recently found that out the hard way.

"The victim in this case was reviewing his checking account online and discovered several unauthorized purchases online as well as a check being cashed at a Hyvee store in Lincoln," said LPD Officer Shane Winterbauer.

The suspect changed the name and logo of the bank on the check before using it. It's a crime Lincoln Police saw 373 times last year. In another case, two women cashed three fake checks totaling $2,300 at a Lincoln Walmart.

"Walmart later learned from US Bank that the checks were fraudulent," said Winterbauer. "The routing numbers had been changed as well as the bank information."

Bank officials at U.S. Bank in Lincoln are trying to convince check card customers to go the debit card route. They say it's a much safer option.

"We are trying to educate and sit down with that customer and show them the ways that they can better manipulate and work their checking account," said Barry Gates, U.S. Bank District Manager in Lincoln.

And plastic is the way to do it.

"When you think about what you do with a check, you stick it in the mail, usually people are mailing that thing off," said Gates. "Well you look at how many people have access to that then. People going by and simply grabbing it out of your mailbox."

From there, it's easily modified.

"Unfortunately, anything with paper can be changed and can be altered," said Gates.

A fact these criminals know all too well, but one that Lincoln Police and local banks are trying to change.

If you know anything about these cases, call Crimestoppers at 475-3600.