Watch CBS News

Expert offers advice on how to avoid becoming victim of check fraud

Expert offers advice on how to avoid becoming victim of check fraud
Expert offers advice on how to avoid becoming victim of check fraud 02:26

MIAMI - Stopping finance fraud is a full-time job, on top of the one a local business owner already has. 

Over the last month, Kevin Tacher tells CBS News Miami he's had scammers try to cash over 30 fraudulent checks from his company's escrow account.

CBS News Miami's Joe Gorchow shares that his daily office routine spared his company significant financial loss.

"We do it because we feel like we have an obligation to serve the community," shared Tacher.

A former firefighter in the Big Apple, Tacher founded and served as CEO for Independence Title, Inc., in Fort Lauderdale, for the last 20 years. 

Since June 8th of this year, he has noticed a disturbing trend.

"We've never had it this bad," said Tacher.

Tacher showed us what he says were 32 fraudulent checks, totaling more than $22,000, created and then used to withdraw funds from his company's escrow account.

Gorchow asked Tacher how many did he spot Monday morning. 

"We had three for about $4,500," shared Tacher. 

"They cash the check, and the check gets presented to the bank."

"This time, mirror image our checks, our signatures."

He has a theory for how someone replicated his checks.

"We had someone that broke into all our mailboxes," said Tacher.

Tacher tells us it happened two months ago, which former FBI special agent Stuart Kaplan points to as a common scammer target.

"Bad guys can target those mailboxes and go fishing into those mailboxes and steal your information, and once they get it, you're at great risk," said Kaplan.

Tacher brought us into his office. 

He says he protects his company and customers by reviewing his financials daily to spot potential fraud.

"Being a firefighter, we go in the deal together, we leave the deal together, and we never leave anyone behind," said Tacher about his diligence in stopping fraud.

The process includes a review of all the checks they wrote.  

And they look at the name and other pertinent details to check for accuracy and fraud.

Gorchow asked Tacher if it concerned him how sophisticated the checks he showed were.

"I'm on top of things," mentioned Tacher.  

"What concerns me more are all the people that are not on top of things, the elderly, you know, people that don't look at their bank account regularly."

Now an attorney, Kaplan says check fraud is prevalent in South Florida,

Using electronic banking and payments is Kaplan's best advice to avoid becoming a victim.   

"From the financial institution directly to that end user, safeguarding you from someone defrauding you," added Kaplan.

"Banks now are set up and designed to be able to assist you and accommodate you in digitally transferring those payments."

"Bad people are very sophisticated, and they realize if they write a check just enough, not to necessarily tip someone off instead of going in and taking a really large sum of money, they take it very gradually," added Kaplan.

Tacher says, so far, he believes he's caught each fraudulent check, reported it to the bank, and is in the process of recouping all the lost funds.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.