Chatham County Police says check fraud is on the rise

Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 5:08 PM EDT
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - If you’re used to paying your bills through checks in the mail, you may want to look into other options.

Chatham County Police Jeff Hadley told the county commission Friday that they’re seeing such an increase in check fraud that now he’s advising people to pay their bills online.

Putting your check in your mailbox, among other places, is no longer safe.

“Or they even put them in a postal box, like at Kroger or what not, those keys get sold, people steal that mail.”

Chief Jeff Hadley says a recent victim lost $23,000. According to his presentation, mail larceny is up 55 percent. There have been 42 stolen and/or forged checks by mail.

“What they’re doing is taking the checks that you write to Georgia Power...using the mobile deposit app on a number of banks to deposit those into accounts and often times that money is quickly transferred somewhere else.”

Chief Hadley says they’ve suggested that some banks create more barriers on mobile check deposits, but haven’t made progress. He encourages a 24 or 48 hour delay on the deposits.

“That needs to be a conversation and maybe that’s a bigger conversation within the banking industry.”

He encourages folks who don’t already, pay their bills online.

“They may not be as computer savvy as some but if you have a grandchild or a child that can help you set all that up and protect yourself a little bit more than what you’re doing now, that would be a good thing.”