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Tompkins County sees rise in check fraud

In the past month, the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office has reported a significant increase in check fraud incidents in the area, prompting a public warning to residents. Authorities have identified various methods employed by criminals, including check washing and forgery.


The Sheriff’s Office took to Facebook to explain check washing, a process where a stolen check is treated with an over-the-counter chemical to remove specific ink.

Criminals often leave the check writer’s signature intact while altering the payee’s name and the check amount. Another common technique involves changing numbers or letters on the checks, such as turning $200 into $2,000.

To counteract the surge in check fraud, the police have suggested several precautionary measures. These include personally delivering outgoing checks to the local Post Office rather than using a mailbox, purchasing a fraud prevention pen, and utilizing most of the available space when writing check amounts.