Yavapai County investigating counterfeit traveler's check

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CAMP VERDE - The following is a press release from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office:

On June 3, 2009, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a reported fraud incident at the Beaver Hollow Mini Mart on Cornville Road in McGuireville. An employee told deputies her bank had just returned an American Express Traveler's Check she had accepted the week prior. The bank indicated the $50.00 check was counterfeit and would not be processed.

The employee described the customer who passed the check as a black female, heavyset with very long painted fingernails. The customer had a book full of these checks at the time of this transaction. The employee had not seen this woman before at the market. Many times, fraud suspect's will use smaller, rural businesses to pass counterfeit checks where they believe employees would not expect this type of fraud or have the latest fraud updates.

YCSO is advising businesses that they should always verify traveler's checks before accepting them in any denomination. The best way to do this is to contact the company who issued the check and provide them with the serial numbers to confirm the check's validity. Many travelers' checks contain watermarks and holograms specific to the issuing company which will be visible if authentic. If a check is reported as being fraudulent, employees should contact law enforcement immediately.

American Express, for example, provides a fraud prevention handbook covering most of their products. A copy of this booklet is attached with this media release. Business owners should make sure employees have access to verification phone numbers and fraud prevention alerts from the various traveler check companies.