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Check cashing fraud at 'all-time high'

WORTHINGTON -- According to Worthington Police Det. Sgt. Kevin Flynn, reports of check cashing fraud in neighboring cities and states are at all all-time high, and recent activity indicates several businesses in Worthington have also been stung.

In a recent email alert, Flynn stated if a business' primary purpose isn't cashing checks, or unless they personally know the individual presenting a check to be cashed, payroll checks should not be cashed. Reports indicate checks that appear to be legitimate payroll checks are determined later to be counterfeit.

In one example, Flynn said an Iowa business allowed two men to cash 25 payroll checks issued in several different names because the men presenting the checks had photo identification.

The best means to defeat what Flynn referred to "check cashing crews" is to call the company issuing the check to verify if the check is authentic. He recommended not using the phone number on the check, but looking up the business number in the phone book or online. If the business can't be contacted, he said, call the bank the check is drawn on.

"If that can't be accomplished," he added, "the check shouldn't be cashed."

If further assistance is needed, Flynn's advice is to call law enforcement.

"If the person wanting to cash the check decides to head for the door after police have been called, it's usually a sign of an attempted fraud," he stated. "Keep any checks and ID presented as they may assist law enforcement investigating the complaint."