Avoid becoming the next Cape Coral check wash victim

In the last few months, we have seen at least five cases in Cape Coral of people changing the cash amount on checks.

On Monday, a woman told Cape Coral police she placed a $75 check in her home mailbox for a lawn care service. Then, it was cashed for $700.

Rich Kolko, WINK News safety and security expert, said going to the post office is typically safer than using a mailbox. But, rather than having an item in the mailbox driveway all day, only put it out around the time the mail person will be there.

“It’s going to come back to you in the long run,” said Sherry Lingenfelter, a Cape Coral resident. “You’re hurting people who may not have enough money to eat that week.”

In May, a separate victim put a check into a letterbox for about $1,000. Then, a week later, the victim noticed the check was cashed by an unknown person in an amount exceeding $4,000.

Since the victim’s financial institution, SunTrust Banks, is still investigating how the check was cashed, it is unable to say where it happened. But the bank acknowledged that a mobile app was used.

“In reality, mobile apps can help detect fraud – there’s a digital footprint,” Kolko said. “This is a critical tool for an investigator any time they’re conducting an investigation.”

Another Cape Coral victim sent a check for $77 to Lee County Electric Cooperative. But when the person went to withdraw money from his account, it was overdrawn. The victim’s check was cashed for over $3,000.

Although Kolko said the odds of this happened are low, people WINK News spoke with are taking extra precautions.

“There’s a lot of fraud out there in the world today,” Lingenfelter said, “People just aren’t always honest.”

“I don’t write checks as much as I used to,” said Sheila Miller, who lives in Cape Coral. “But, I’m definitely going to be double checking everything from now on.”

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
Writer:Michael Mora
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