Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Sandra Yi reporting It happened to him, and all he did was write a check. "Anybody who has a checking account-- this could happen to anybody," he says.
Writing that one check led to theft of bank account information and eventually the loss of nearly 2 thousand dollars.
The victim owns a real estate investment company and did not want to be identified. He wrote a check. That was enough for someone to get his account number and signature.
Victim: "A nightmare."
That's how he describes his ordeal with check fraud.
Victim: "I've been doing business for 35 years, and nothing like this has ever happened."
He wrote an employee a check for a hundred dollars. That person cashed it. But someone stole his information, and nearly 2 thousand dollars out of his account.
They just changed the check numbers.
Victim: "They had gotten a check blank on the computer and scanned the signature and the account number onto their own check."
Two days later, the person tried it again, for even more money. But the bank alerted him, and it didn't go through.
Victim: "It's too easy."
Victim: "To many people have access to your checks and print outs of your checks."
Richard Hamp prosecutes identity thieves. He says, the victim's story is all too common.
Richard Hamp/ Asst. Attorney General: "Once an identity thief gets a check, all he needs is the routing number off the checks and he's in business manufacturing his own checks."
But businesses are finding ways to combat check fraud. There's software that allows companies to print checks, then store electronic files of the information at the bank. The bank notifies the business if there are any discrepancies.
Lynn Shimada/ Piracle, Inc.: "The concept behind our software is we basically start with a blank piece of paper, check stock, and you end up with a completed check."
The idea appeals to this man. He's still dealing with the headaches of being a victim.
Victim: "My trouble is, I've got about 40 different accounts that automatic debit. I've got to stop every one of those, and I've got to contact 40 people to reinstigate the automatic debit thing."
He reported it to police. Experts say, to protect your information, know who has it and be cautious of who you give it to.
They say watch your mail if you're expecting a check. And if you're mailing one, put it in a post office box.