West Memphis Beefs Up Security after ID Theft

West Memphis Beefs Up Security after ID Theft

The City of West Memphis is beefing up security and reviewing procedures after they were recently a victim of identity theft to the tune of $120,000.
WEST MEMPHIS, AR (abc24.com) - The City of West Memphis is beefing up security and reviewing procedures after they were recently a victim of identity theft to the tune of $120,000.

"I got pretty excited when one of my book keepers brought it to me, I just went straight to the bank," said Frank Martin, Finance Director for the city.

Martin says the city had mailed a check to a vendor in Dallas, Texas but the check was somehow stolen along the way.

Before the city realized it, the crooks were at work.

"What they did was take the original check, scanned it, changed the check number, and the payee," said Martin.

Martin said investigators told him the thieves created dozens of online bank accounts, eventually withdrawing the money from ATM's in California.

"They know they got the money, they got pictures of them going to the ATM, $800 at a time," Martin said.

The city was able to flag the account, but the crooks kept trying.

"We stopped $140,000 of checks, by catching them," he added.

The city has since beefed up security, and is now using a high-tech online bill paying system that should do away with a lot of old-fashioned checks.

Martin says the FBI is investigating, and told him other cities may be victims as well.
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