Thieves wipe out Oahu man’s bank account

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An Oahu man is out thousands of dollars after thieves wiped out his bank account.

Honolulu police have made an arrest but the victim is sharing his story to warn others.

Credit card fraud and identity theft are nothing new. These crimes are being committed almost everyday.

The majority of these crimes are centered at stealing credit and debit card info, people still do commit check fraud as well.

“I wrote a check on the account to myself at another bank and that check bounced,” said Brian Clarke.

That’s when Clarke knew something was wrong but it was too late. He was already a victim of check fraud.

“One to several people forged a bunch of checks. 21 of them to be exact and it took my account down by $10,000 dollars,” said Clarke.

Clarke says the thieves somehow got a hold of his checks, and over the course of 30 days, wiped out his account by forging his signature and cashing them.

“It seems like a no brainer to figure out a way that they wouldn’t be incriminating themselves, but it looks like that’s exactly what they were doing,” Clarke said.

Clarke also says the suspects didn’t do a good job of forging his signature.

“For instance they were using or signing Bruce L. Clark,” added Clarke.

Bruce and Brian are not the same name. So why wasn’t the forged signature caught right away?

KHON2 spoke with the executive director of the Hawaii Bankers Association to find out.

“Many banks do not check signatures on every item. They will check signatures on larger amounts,” said Ed Pei of the Hawaii Bankers Association.

With that in mind here are some tips.

— Always protect and safeguard your personal information

–Also keep you PIN and passwords secure. In the wrong hands bad things can happen…

–If you feel like any of your accounts, checks or cards have been compromised call the bank immediately.

–Always check your statements.

“Now with the prevalence of online banking you can check your account every day,” said Pei.

In Clarke’s case, Honolulu police arrested a 46-year-old Makiki man for multiple counts of forgery, ID theft and theft.

“Crooks are out there and the prevalence of fraud is not going to diminish anytime soon,” added Pei.

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