GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids city officials are warning small businesses statewide about bogus checks that appear to be from the city.
The Grand Rapids Police Department says suspected scammers have tried cashing four of the fake checks at markets and convenience stores from Flint to Wyoming.
“The account numbers are not real, the check numbers aren’t real, so there’s no money being drawn from the city,” GRPD Sgt. Dan Adams said. “The real victims here are those small businesses that thrive on that type of business (cashing payroll checks). They’re the ones that are going to be out the money.”
The fraudulent checks have the Grand Rapids city logo on them, appear to be from Grand Rapids Human Resources and drawn from JP Morgan Chase Bank. The city says a genuine check from the city would be written from City of Grand Rapids and wouldn’t come from JP Morgan Chase because the city doesn’t issue checks from that bank.
Grand Rapids says another red flag is a single signature at the bottom of the bogus check. A legitimate city check will have three separate signatures.
“Specifically this particular looking check and drawing from a city account, this is relatively new, but unfortunately this is a crime that’s been around since checks first started,” Adams said. “The old saying in law enforcement is that you can steal more money with a pen than you can with a gun. That’s true. If they go around and hit a couple hundred dollars a couple times, they can do some significant damage. We don’t want that to happen to our businesses.”
Anyone who encounters a suspicious check that appears from the city is encouraged to call the bank and give them the account number listed on the check to confirm if it is coming from an actual account.