Three fraud investigations are currently under way in Sampson County involving the passing of fraudulent checks, the theft of someone’s identity and an attempt to write checks without the authority to do so.
In each case, sheriff’s investigators note, suspects are being sought and, in some instances, have been identified but just not arrested — yet.
Evidence, Capt. Eric Pope said, is being gathered in the cases, all which were reported over the last 24-48 hours and all which are currently under investigation.
In the first case, reported Tuesday by employees of the U.S. 421 Check Cashing, note that they were alerted by a local bank that two checks, written against the account of First Tee Trucking, were fraudulent. The checks had been written for $725.82 and $827.51.
Pope said there was a suspect in the case.
He noted that the check-cashing company found out about the uttering of the fraudulent checks only when the bank called to notify them of the problem.
In the second case, a South Carolina woman reported that someone opened a Sears credit card account using her name.
Pope said the card was acquired after the suspect acquired the victim’s Social Security number.
Although he would not talk directly about the case under investigation, the officer said that oftentimes those who take a person’s identity, apply for the credit card using the Social Security number, get a post office box or use an address of an abandoned house on the application and then wait for the card to arrive.
Once the card arrives, the suspect will then run up a bill or max out the card.
“Bills are then sent to the fake address, followed eventually by late notices. Then the company will run a credit history and get the card-holders other address. Usually the card holder doesn’t know until they run their own credit history,” Pope said.
That’s why he recommends that individuals take advantage of the once-a-year credit history offered by the top three credit reporting agencies.
“That way, you can check your credit history and if there’s anything suspicious you can get it straightened out before your credit history is completely ruined,” the captain stressed.
The third case, much like the first, involved the writing and attempt to utter fraudulent checks. This time the victim was Metal Specialists of Garland Highway.
The business owner, Rodney Chestnutt of Fayetteville, was notified by the bank of two checks that came back non-sufficient funds. It was then that the owner realized that he had not written the checks and attempted to get in contact with those he believed responsible.
Pope said the suspect or suspects had apparently done the same thing in another location.
All three cases are currently under investigations and arrests are likely.