Counterfeit checks recently have drawn about $50,000 from MidSouth Community Federal Credit Union accounts.
Three weeks ago, Baldwin County sheriffs investigators were initially handling two cases, but quickly received about 10 more, said Capt. Brad King.
Through a Secret Service Task Force meeting this week, King learned of the widespread instances across the Southeast.
Were up to about 12 victims in Baldwin County, but there are twice as many in Bibb, Jones, Houston, Peach, Monroe and Hancock, King said Friday morning.
MidSouth CEO and President Roy Bibb said he doubts they are alone in the counterfeit operation that affects a small percentage of their accounts.
Members put checks out there and someone devious can get these account numbers and print checks, Bibb said. When they go through the system, theyll pass.
Bibb stressed that it will only have a temporary affect on a members account before funds are restored.
All the counterfeit checks trace back to the name of a Fulton County identity theft victim who has been cleared of any wrongdoing, King said.
The counterfeiter is using the same name on each of the checks, but with different account numbers.
Checks drawn from Baldwin Countys first cases were passed in the Canton area, King said.
Primarily in Wal-Mart, Lowes and Belk, King said. More than likely they are buying merchandise and having others go back and return it for money, or selling the goods.
Authorities have released a surveillance photo of the prime suspect, who was seen in a white Pontiac G6.
Anyone who recognizes him is urged to call local law enforcement or Macon Regional CrimeStoppers at 877-68-CRIME.
The suspect is linked to similar activity in Alabama and the Carolinas, King said.
In the electronic banking world, institutions rely on people reporting errors.
Really watch your account, Bibb said. We go through all kinds of safeguards to make sure our numbers dont get out, but if somebody wants to do something devious, they will.
To contact Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.