The Spring Lake Park Police Department continues to see multiple forgery cases and financial scams each month.
“I’ve got four on my plate right now,” Det. Josh Antoine said. He closed three fraud cases in September.
Forged checks – stolen checks and checks penned with non-sufficient funds – are common after the economic crisis in the late 2000s, he said.
With two Your Exchange Check Cashing businesses in such a small city, Antoine said there are more fraud cases in Spring Lake Park than there might be in the average city of Spring Lake Park’s size.
Often, the fraudulent checks aren’t coming from Spring Lake Park citizens, but from people throughout the metro who cash checks at Your Exchange, he said.
Your Exchange does a great job of catching fraudulent checks before they are cashed though, Antoine said. “We have a great working relationship with our businesses,” he said.
Most forged checks that the police department sees are from real accounts, many stolen from mailboxes, according to Antoine.
He advises dropping bills off in the post office’s blue boxes or investing in a locked mailbox.
Financial scams are another issue. Often, mass mailings sent to thousands of people request that recipients cash an enclosed check and send a percentage of the money to an address as fees, Antoine said. Even if 50 or 60 people follow through, the scammer makes money, he said.
The citizens in Spring Lake Park usually aren’t the victims; the accounts could belong to anyone, so it’s very difficult to track these crimes, Antoine said.
“If it seems to good to be true, it is,” he said.
If you believe you have run across a scam, contact the police department.
Olivia Koester is at [email protected]