Police Ask Businesses to Check Checks for Prints

Tyler Police say the power to stop counterfeit checking is in the hands of businesses. Counterfeit checking is on the rise in East Texas. Desktop computer, improved printers, and preprinted checking forms are making it easier for criminals to steal the identies and bank accounts of people across the country. But Tyler Police say the power to fight this type of crime could be at your fingertips.

The D & N Grocery in Tyler used to have a problem with people passing counterfeit checks. Manager Lola Castillo says the funny money was becoming very expensive.  "We're already out of the money for cashing the check, and then the time you spend trying to put the people behind bars."

But it's not a problem anymore. Now, in addition to driver's license and signature, every check cashed here must have a fingerprint. Castillo says they had a few upset customers, at first. "They want to give you a hard time about not even wanting to put their whole fingerprint on there. But if they want their checks cashed here, there going to put their whole fingerprint on that check."

"The more businesses we get on board doing that, the more of these of these will start to disappear from the Tyler area."says Officer  Chris Moore. The department is receiving more complaints of fake checks every week. Many of the bounced checks have bogus ID numbers and names on them. Moore says Tyler Police want businesses to make fingerprinting cashed checks standard procedure.

"If somebody's ever been arrested, then their thumb print is in the system. And now that we have the AAFES system, we ca put a thumb print, of any other fingerprint through the AAFES system, and it will kick back the possible suspects."

A stamp pad for fingerprinting only costs a couple of bucks. But, if it stops just one counterfeit check, it could save your company hundreds, even thousands of dollars. At the same time, you're protecting your customers from identity theft.

Castillo says her store is proof fingerprinting checks works.  Since the the D&N Grocery  started fingerprinting on checks a year ago, they have not had a single bounced or counterfeit check. "It's positive identification that that person standing with you that was cashing that check is that person."