Sheriff Department

Identity Theft & Financial Crimes

In the fall of 2006 the Metropolitan Fraud & Identity Theft Team was formed. This team is comprised of detectives from the Grand Rapids Police, Kent County Sheriff, Wyoming Police, and Kentwood Police Departments. The purpose of this unit is to quickly identify a pattern of crimes occurring across jurisdictional lines allowing for a more efficient workforce. At present, the Metro Fraud Team is responsible for investigating the following crime types: credit card cases with a loss of over $500, identity theft, and all check cases.

Credit Card Complaints

In many cases, the illegal use of a credit card is a secondary complaint within an original complaint. In other words, the first crime to occur may be the theft of a purse or wallet from a car. The second crime to occur is the unauthorized use of a credit card taken in the theft.

In cases such as this, please contact your credit card companies immediately and cancel your credit cards. While talking with the credit card companies, ask them when your card was last used. If there are any unauthorized uses or attempts to use, it is your responsibility to ask for the address of the incidents, as well as the date and time the card(s) was used. The reporting officer will need this information to continue the investigation. If the store location is not available at the time of your initial call to the credit card company, ask when you will be able to get the information. These are your records which you can access. Business records are not available to Law Enforcement without a court order.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is becoming a widespread problem across the country. You are a victim of identity theft if someone uses your personal information to obtain such things as credit cards, loans, mortgages, employment, etc. You may file a police report with the police agency where you live, or where your personal information was used. In addition to filing a police report, the Kent County Sheriff Office recommends you do the following:

1. Contact the Fraud Division of the three credit bureaus and advise them you are a victim of identity theft. Request each agency to place a fraud alert on your file. This alert will warn lenders to be especially careful in authenticating the identity of anyone claiming to be you. The alert will not allow you to open instant credit, however, this is a minor inconvenience in comparison to the damage created to your credit rating if your personal information continues to be used fraudulently. The three credit bureaus are:

Equifax
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241     
1-800-525-6285
Experian
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
1-888-397-3742     
Transunion
P.O. Box 390
Springfield, PA 19064-0390
1-800-680-7289

2. Request a copy of your credit report from each of the credit bureaus. When you receive the credit report, check the business inquiries. Ensure you recognize each business that looked at your credit. If you do not recognize a business, contact them and verify no unauthorized account was opened in your name. If an unauthorized account was opened, inform the customer representative that you are a victim of fraud. Have them close the account. If you open new accounts, make sure you place a password on it.

3. Contact the Federal Trade Commission and file an Identity Theft complaint form.

Identity Theft Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC, 20580
1-877-438-4338

For additional information regarding identity theft, you may visit the Identity Theft Resource Center website at: www.idtheftcenter.org.

Check Complaints

There are three types of check complaints. The bank will notify you of the type of check complaint you are a victim of. The three types of check complaints are:

  1. Uttering and Publishing
  2. Closed Account Check
  3. Non-Sufficient Funds Check

If you are attempting to file a check complaint, how you report your complaint is based on whether you are a citizen victim or a business victim.

Citizen Victim

NSF or Closed Account Check

If you are a citizen and you need to file a NSF or Closed Account Check complaint, you must determine which police agency you need to file the report with. The appropriate jurisdiction is based on where the check was accepted as payment. For example, if you live in Cannon Township, but you accepted a check while in Grand Rapids, the police agency with jurisdiction is the Grand Rapids Police Department.

Uttering and Publishing

These types of check complaints involve checks that are stolen and then your signature is forged. If you are a citizen and you need to file an uttering and publishing complaint, prior to calling the police you must do the following:

  1. Contact your bank and file a report with them.
  2. Part of the report you file with your bank will be an affidavit of forgery. Be sure to obtain copies of all the affidavit of forgeries you file to turn over to the police.
  3. Determine where each check was passed as payment. Be sure you get the address of the business. Your bank can assist you with is.

Bank/Merchant Victim

NSF or Closed Account Check under $1,000

The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office contracted with the American Corrective Counseling Services, Inc. (ACCS). This contract enables banks and merchants in Kent County to recover monies lost as a result of NSF and Closed Account checks under $1,000 without filing a police report.

If you are a bank or merchant and are victim of a NSF or Closed Account check and the dollar amount is under $1,000, DO NOT contact the police. Instead, complete a Bad Check Crime Report and mail it to ACCS. ACCS will attempt to recover the monies lost. The Bad Check Crime Report is a two-sided document available at any police department or you may download it at www.checkprogram.com/kentcountymi. You may also reach ACCS at their merchant hotline, 866-398-5064 and request a copy be mailed to you. Please make additional copies as needed. If the suspect fails to comply with the program guidelines, you will be notified via mail and directed to complete a Fraudulent Check Report.

Uttering and Publishing, or Closed Account/NSF check over $1,000

The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office contracted with the American Corrective Counseling Services, Inc. (ACCS). This contract enables banks and merchants in Kent County to recover monies lost as a result of NSF and Closed Account checks under $1,000 without filing a police report.

If you are a bank or merchant and are victim of a NSF or Closed Account check and the dollar amount is under $1,000, DO NOT contact the police. Instead, complete a Bad Check Crime Report and mail it to ACCS. ACCS will attempt to recover the monies lost. The Bad Check Crime Report is a two-sided document available at any police department or you may download it at www.checkprogram.com/kentcountymi. You may also reach ACCS at their merchant hotline, 866-398-5064 and request a copy be mailed to you. Please make additional copies as needed. If the suspect fails to comply with the program guidelines, you will be notified via mail and directed to complete a Fraudulent Check Report.

Uttering and Publishing, or Closed Account/NSF check over $1,000

If you are a bank or merchant, and you are attempting to file an Uttering and Publishing complaint, or a Closed Account/NSF Check complaint with the dollar value over $1,000 written by the same suspect, prior to calling the appropriate police agency you must:

  1. Complete a Fraudulent Check Packet.
  2. Have all available evidence collected to be given to the officer at the time they respond to take your report.

A police report will not be taken until such steps are taken. The Fraudulent Check Packet can be downloaded from this website, or obtained at any police agency in Kent County.