Economic Crimes Bureau (ECB)
The mission of the Economic Crimes Bureau is investigation and prosecution (in an efficient and professional manner) of individuals and groups engaged and participating in criminal conduct involving forgery, check fraud, theft and use of access devices (checks, credit and debit cards), counterfeiting access devices (checks, credit and debit cards, skimming and re-encoding), counterfeit audio cassette tapes, video tapes, CDs and DVDs, counterfeit clothing and trademarks, embezzlement, impersonation, elder financial crimes, identity theft, computer and internet crimes, insurance and estate frauds.
The Economic Crimes Bureau also provides speakers to make presentations relating to fraud issues for business and civic groups.
CREDIT CARD FRAUD
If your credit card is stolen or the number has been compromised:
- Notify your credit card company immediately.
- Report the theft of the credit card to the law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where the theft occurred.
- Report the use of the credit card number to the law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where the transaction occurred.
Keep in mind that the credit card companies own credit cards. They will be considered victims if your account is reimbursed for fraudulent charges, at which time they will assume the monetary loss. You (the credit card holder) will be a witness who testifies that you did not give the suspect permission to use your credit card or its number. Credit card companies may or may not pursue the fraudulent use of the account. Your immediate priority is to prevent and minimize further harm to your credit.
Identity Theft involves another person using your name and personal data information for fraudulent purposes. Identity Theft investigations are time-consuming, and many require compiling documentary evidence. A successful Identity Theft investigation requires cooperation from the victim and the merchant/financial institution involved. If you are a victim of identity theft, your primary objective is to prevent and minimize further harm to your credit. The following actions should be taken immediately:
- Make contact (by telephone and in writing) with all creditors (credit card companies, telephone companies, utility companies, banks and other financial institutions) to check for any accounts that have been modified or opened fraudulently. (1) Advise the businesses and/or financial institution who accepted the fraudulent charge or opened the fraudulent account that it was done so without your knowledge or permission. (2) Have someone fully explain the process for resolving fraudulent transactions to you. (3) Complete an Affidavit of Fraud. (4) Maintain contact with the businesses and financial institutions until their investigation is complete.
- Contact (by telephone and in writing) the fraud departments of the three (3) major credit bureaus (listed below) and inform them of the problem. Request that a “Fraud Alert /Victim Impact” statement be placed in your credit file, and order copies of your credit reports.
- Review your credit report thoroughly. Identity all fraudulent activity, and dispute fraudulent information.
- Report stolen checks and any bank account that has been set up fraudulently to all of the check verification companies (listed below). The bank and the check verification companies should be notified to flag your account. It is important to complete an Affidavit of Forgery on all stolen checks at your bank.
- Check the post office for addresses in your name (an indication that your mail is being diverted due to a change of address form being filed).
- Obtain a Social Security Administration (SSA) report to ascertain whether benefits have been paid out in your name.
- If your identity has been compromised, and you live in the city limits of Memphis, Tennessee, file a police report with the Memphis Police Department and with the law enforcement agency in the community where the identity theft took place. Obtain some sort of documentation that supports your claim prior to filing a police report.
- If you live outside of Shelby County, Tennessee, and are a victim of Identity Theft where the suspect may be from Shelby County, you must first file a report with your local law enforcement agency to verify your identity. Once the report has been completed, your law enforcement agency can forward it to the Memphis Police Department Economic Crimes Bureau or you can mail or fax it yourself.
- File a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- Keep a journal of all contacts and make copies of all documents. All correspondence should be sent certified mail, return receipt requested.
Evidence Required for Prosecution
- Documentary evidence (original or certified copies) is required where identifying information has been used by the offender to compromise the victim’s identity.
- Positive identification by a reliable witness of the individual responsible.
- Positive identification of fingerprint impressions recorded by the individual responsible at the time the identity was compromised.
- A dated and time stamped video image with sufficient resolution and clarity to clearly identify the individual responsible committing the offense. The identity of the responsible person must be established by comparison with an identifying photograph or by a witness who knows the individual by sight and name. There must be some means of establishing positive identification of the individual in the video.
- A statement of admission/written confession made to the police by the responsible person.
Credit Reporting Bureaus
|To Report Fraud Activity||P.O. Box 740250
|P.O. Box 1017
|P.O. Box 6790
|To Order Credit Reports||P.O. Box 740241
|P.O. Box 2104
|P.O. Box 390
|To Opt Out for Credit and Marketing Lists and Pre-approved Credit Offers||P.O. Box 740123
|P.O. Box 919
|P.O. Box 97328
Check Verification Companies (Theft or Fraudulent Use of Checks)
- CheckRite – 800.766.2748
- International Check Services (ICS) – 800.526.5380
- Chexsystems – 800.428.9623/800.328.5121
- SCAN – 800.262.7771
- CrossCheck – 800.843.0760
- TeleCheck – 800.710.9898
- Certigy/Equifax – 800.437.5120
Identity Theft Resources
- Identity Theft Resource Center – www.idtheftcenter.org
- Privacy Rights Clearinghouse – www.privacyrights.org/identity.htm
- Federal Trade Commission – http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/
- Identity Theft Affidavit – http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2002/02/idtheft.shtm
- Victims Assistance of America, Inc. – http://www.victimsassistanceofamerica.org/
- Social Security Administration (SSA) – Call 800.269.0271 if your social security number has been used fraudulently. Call 800.772.1213 to order your Earnings and Benefits Statement. The SSA may be willing to change your social security number if you have what they consider an extreme case of Identity Theft.
- United States Postal Inspection Service (investigates theft of mail, mail fraud, and fraudulent application for credit by mail): Memphis Office 901.576.2077.
- To remove your name from Direct Marketing Association (DMA) mail lists write to: Mail Preference Service, Post Office Box 9008, Farmingdale, New York 11735-9008.
- To remove your name from Direct Marketing Association (DMA) telephone lists write to: Telephone Preference Service, Post Office Box 9014, Farmingdale, New York 11735-9014.
- Memphis Consumer Credit Association, Inc., 4066 Summer Avenue, 901.321.6769
If you are a victim of internet fraud, make an online complaint to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov. The IFCC will forward the report to the appropriate investigating agency. Please remember the following if you have the address where the merchandise was delivered:
- The individual who live at that address cannot be automatically arrested and charged with compromising your identity or using your credit/debit card number.
- An investigation must prove that the person living at that location was responsible using your information.
- A positive identification of the responsible person must me made by a witness.
- The delivery addresses are frequently vacant residences. The delivery driver (UPS, Federal Express, etc.) leaves the packages at the residence, and an unknown person recovers them later.
The Attorney General for the State of Tennessee has ruled that “The Worthless Check Law (TCA 39-14-121) can only be invoked when the bad check is given for a current or future item or service”. “A worthless check given for labor, materials, and services after the job is completed” would subject the drawer to being arrested and prosecuted for Theft of Property or Theft of Services. The questions listed below must be answered to ascertain whether the check will be prosecuted under the Worthless Check Law or Theft of Property or Services law.
- Was the check written for services that were already completed?
- Was the check written for goods or merchandise, and payment was not required at the time of delivery?
- Was the check written as a payment on a pre-existing account or contract?
- Was the check post-dated, even by accident?
- Has the check been reported stolen by the account holder?
- Are you willing to go before a Judge to sign an arrest warrant?
If the answer to questions 1 through 4 is “yes” the drawer can be prosecuted for Theft of Property or Services. A “yes” to question 5 may be a Forgery or Identity Theft. A Memphis Police Department (1) Incident Report and (2) an investigation conducted by an Economic Crimes Bureau investigator is required before (3) an arrest warrant can be signed. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
My vehicle was broken into and my wallet, checkbook, social security card, driver license, and credit cards were stolen. A police report was taken. What should I do if someone uses my stolen checks, credit cards, or establish credit using my name and social security number?
First, contact the General Investigation Bureau handling the case and make sure the items (checkbook, social security card, driver’s license, and credit cards) are listed on the Theft from a Motor Vehicle incident report.
Second, report the theft of your checks and credit cards to your bank or other financial institution. Also, notify the check-processing companies listed above regarding stolen checks or check fraud.
Third, if your stolen checks are being used, complete an Affidavit of Forgery at your bank, and advise the business that the transactions involved were fraudulent and encourage the business to file an incident report with the police. It is not necessary for you to file a second incident report.
Fourth, if your stolen credit card is used to make a purchase, a report will need to be filed for the fraudulent use of the card.
Fifth. Your identity has been compromised when your social security number has been used to establish credit. You are now an Identity Theft victim and should file an Identity Theft incident report, and follow the instructions outlined above.
I received cancelled checks from my bank. I did not write these checks, nor did I authorize these checks to be written. What should I do?
File a police report for the theft of the check, if you haven’t already done so. Take the checks to your bank along with a copy of your police report, and complete an Affidavit of Forgery for each check. The bank should return the check to the business that accepted the check.
I received notices from businesses demanding payment of returned checks I did not write. What should I do?
Advise the business that the transactions involved were fraudulent and encourage the business to file an incident report with the police. Provide the business with a copy of your police report and an Affidavit of Forgery.
The person who forged my checks driver’s license number was written on the checks. Why is that information insufficient to establish the individual’s identity?
Individuals involved in fraudulent activities will assume stolen or counterfeit identities when negotiating forged checks. The counterfeit identification will often contain either fictitious information or another person’s information.
My checks or credit cards were stolen from the mail. (I ordered checks, but they never came, or my new credit card never arrived.) Can I file a police report?
Yes, a police report can be filed. However, the United States Postal Inspection Service has jurisdiction for investigating mail thefts.
What is an Affidavit of Forgery?
An Affidavit of Forgery is a notarized, sworn statement, attesting that the signature appearing on it is indeed a forgery. The account holder must provide an Affidavit of Forgery for each forged or counterfeited item.
How did they (the identity thief) get my information?
Social Security numbers can be obtained from your place of employment, your doctor’s office, the mortgage company that processed your loan, and many other places. The places that you have grown comfortable with are the same places that are vulnerable to identity theft.