Computer Crime Research Center


Check washing scam

Date: May 14, 2007
By: David Colker

Talk about money laundering. An ordinary check made out to person A is bathed in a chemical available at any hardware store. In just a few minutes, it is blank again and made out to person B -- who is a thief.

This process, which has been around for decades, is known as "check washing" among con men, and in an era of high-tech crimes it seems almost quaint.

Except that it's back. Along with other check crimes.

"What we are hearing is that it's a backlash after so much effort made by banks to boost security on their Web sites," said Will Wade, technology editor for trade journal American Banker. "Some of the scammers are going old school with the easier stuff."
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