Portsmouth Police trying to stop check fraud

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – The number of check fraud cases in Portsmouth is remaining steady despite the increased use of online banking over the years.

“As long as you have humans with wants,needs, or desires, you’re going to have a ready pool of victims,” said Portsmouth Police detective John Humphries.

Humphries says the department constantly has their hands full investigating these white-collar crimes.

In the most recent case, detectives arrested 20-year-old Sherika Jones after they say she used a fraudulent check at the BB&T on High Street.

Humphries says she was one of many involved with that crime.

“They’ll bait you with something you want, whether it’s product or money. The hook is the creative sense of urgency. Do this now or it’ll go away. Do this now and you’ll get more,” Humphries said about scammers’ tactics.

Humphries says recognizing the scam, being skeptical, and just paying attention can help stop you from becoming a victim.

He also says they’ve seen an increase in lottery check fraud victims. Those scammed will receive mail saying they’ve won the lottery and the scammers will ask them to pay taxes up front to get the cash they supposedly won.

“You would be surprised at how many people will go cash this check or pay taxes on the lottery of this winning and they never played the lottery,” Humphries said.

He also stressed the importance of looking out for these signs, especially if you’re approached by strangers on the street.

Humphries says it’s up to you to remain vigilant and be weary because officers are not alerted until it’s too late. “There’s not much you can do because the suspects are betting on the human desire of what they want,’ he said.