Letter warns of check fraud using cell phone cameras at Wal-Mart-Fiction!

Louisiana Government Letter Warns of Wal-Mart Employee Fraud-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

This eRumor is in the form of a scan of a letter from the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Office of Motor Vehicles in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  It warns that Wal-Mart employees are using their camera phones to take a picture of customer’s checks then using that to print a version that is run through your account for either cash or to purchase gift cards.  The letter says this is a “multi-city fraud and theft ring”

The Truth:

On July 31, 2007 Sgt. Markus L. Smith of the Louisiana State Police issued a statement saying that this letter was unauthorized and sent to employees of the Baton Rouge field office of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Office of Motor Vehicles.

Sgt. Smith said that the letter was not official or sanctioned in any way by the department and that members of the public should not rely on the information in the letter.  

Sgt. Smith’s statement apologizes to Wal-Mart or anyone else who may have been inconvenienced.

We have not found any widespread evidence of this employee fraud and whoever wrote this letter may have been influenced by another eRumor.

The letter claims that employees are using camera phones to take pictures of checks then downloading the images to make fraudulent checks that can be drawn from your account.  This is similar to an eRumor that circulated in 2004 that claimed that camera phones were being used to capture pictures credit cards being used by people at check stands.  CLICK HERE FOR THAT STORY.

The problem is that as of this writing none of the camera phones is of good enough quality to actually take a picture that could then be converted into a fake check.

Also, we have not found any evidence of this particular scheme except in forwarded emails.  If there is any law enforcement agency investigating it other than as a potential for theft, we’re not aware of it.

Updated 8/2/07