Preprinted Checks Make Identity Theft Easier

Tyler Police say it's an increasing problem. Fake checks with real account numbers are being passed at local stores. The counterfeit checks are easy to produce, and hard to prosecute.

Thousands of checks are written in Tyler stores every day. But, Officer Chris Moore says an increasing number of them are ending up in a evidence bag at the Tyler Police Department. "These are all counterfeit checks that have been manufactured on a printer, with false information, account numbers, false names and such as that, some of which have already been passed in the Tyler area."

Three of the checks turned in Monday were created on a blank preprinted form. The forms can be purchased at office supply and electronics stores anywhere in the country. The District Attorney's Office says these preprinted forms are making counterfeit checks much easier. All you need is a personal computer, and a printer. Moore Believes, "As computers get better, and printers get better, the quality of counterfeits get better."

But Officer Moore says there are some things you can do to minimize your risk of becoming a stolen identity victim. "Don't have preprinted on your checks the driver's license number, your date of birth, maybe even your phone number. If the clerks want that, they can ask you for that."

Police say it is hard to catch check counterfeiters because usually several weeks pass before the fake check is returned to the account holder. By the time it is reported, it may be as long as a month after the initial crime.