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November 21, 07

NEWS / CBP Indianapolis Intercepts Record Number of Counterfeit Checks; Thwarts Consumer Scams

Indianapolis, Ind. ó U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers stationed at the FedEx Express Consignment Operation in Indianapolis know a thing or two about counterfeit check scams. In the past 12 months they have seized in excess of $113 million in counterfeit monetary instruments. These counterfeit checks are mainly arriving from Canada and they are part of a major con job that preys on a large number of United States citizens.

The recipients of the counterfeit checks are common, trusting, law abiding people that are being victimized in a scam. Due to the sheer volume of counterfeit checks intercepted by CBP it is apparent that people are still falling for this shell game. These counterfeit checks being seized are utilized in many different types of swindling operations mostly instigated through the Internet.

CBP officers at the Indianapolis Express Consignment facility are seizing an average of $364,000.00 of counterfeit checks daily. William Bell, the port director for CBP in Indianapolis explains, "Our officers contact the financial institution or businesses that the checks are drawn from for verification of authenticity. To date, 99.9 percent have come back as counterfeit.

Once this is established the appropriate government agency is contacted for further investigation. Sometimes calls are received from the public inquiring about their checks. Once we explain the situation, more often than not, the damage has already been done. The recipients had already sent funds to the scam artist and were anxiously waiting for their check as payment."

Customs and Border Protection officers are stationed at express consignment facilities like the FedEx Express Consignment Operation in Indianapolis. Three other large facilities in the Midwest are the DHL hub in Wilmington, Ohio, the UPS hub in
CBP officers in Indianapolis are adept at intercepting fake checks and have seized $113 million worth during the past year Louisville, Ky. and the FedEx hub in Memphis, Tenn.
CBPís mission at these facilities is to process, examine and release all of the parcels that arrive from a foreign point of origin. All shipments are processed through a radiation portal to ensure that radioactive materials do not enter this country.

At the FedEx hub in Indianapolis approximately 35,000 international shipments are reviewed nightly and 200-300 of these shipments are X-rayed, opened and examined per night. David J. Murphy, director of field operations in Chicago, states, "The discovery of these counterfeit checks is an illustration of how CBP protects the people of this country, in this case, from possible financial ruin. CBP is vigilant and on the constant lookout to prevent illegal contraband from entering this country."

Remember if it seems too good to be true then it probably is. If you think youíve been targeted by a counterfeit check scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP 1-877-382-4357.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of the nationís borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.



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