Marines trying to help may ruin their credit

11 Feb 2003 | Cpl. Kristin S. Gambrell

Marines are falling victim to a check cashing scam throughout Marine Corps installations. 

The scam has left seven Marines here out more than $1,500 all together because they were trying to be good Samaritans, according to Marsha Asbury, the deputy comptroller for Marine Corps Community Services.

The scam occurs when a male Marine, for example, is in the Main Exchange and a woman approaches him.  The woman then tells the Marine she lost her identification card, her spouse is deployed, and she needs to cash a check to buy food.  She then asks the Marine if she can write the Marine a personal check, usually $200, and if the Marine will cash it inside.

When the Marine cashes the check, he must sign his name and put his social security number on the back.  That Marine is now responsible for any nonsufficient funds and charges that may arise.

The check comes back as NSF because the accounts do not exist anymore or they are fake.

When the check shows NSF, it immediately affects the Marine who cashed it.  The Marine's name gets put into a worldwide database that, in turn, prevents him from cashing any checks.

"It is important to safeguard your credit," said Asbury.  "I cannot stress enough the importance of not cashing a check for someone you do not know, because you never know what his or her financial situation may be and what impact it will have on your future."