Police: Charleston business owner's checks stolen, forged in nationwide scam

Charleston business owner's checks stolen, forged in nationwide scam

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Police say crooks stole checks from a Charleston business owner and forged them as part of a nationwide scam.

The business owner, Nancy Lerner is the longtime owner of a women's boutique on King Street.

It was business as usual this holiday season until this past Monday, when she got a phone call.

"He says did you give me and write a check for $2,930? I said I don't think so, who are you?" Lerner recalled. "He says do you know so and so who has something to do with wrapping cars for advertising?"

Police say it turned out the man who called Lerner was the victim of a scam called car wrapping.

The crooks place a job opportunity ad in a newspaper, looking for people who are willing to advertise a business on their car.

Anyone who answers the ad is sent a check for a couple of thousand dollars, and told to keep $400 and wire back the rest of the money.

The problem is the check is bogus and in this case, someone stole one of Lerner's legitimate business checks and made a bunch of phony checks and forged Lerner's signature on them.

"They were using my checking account and my money and possibly pay these poor victims if they tried to cash the checks, but people were smarter and called to see if in fact, the check was legitimate," said Lerner.

Lerner called her bank and closed her bank account immediately.

And then she learned there were more victims from around the country who were sent bad checks with her business and name on them.

Fortunately, Lerner didn't lose any money from the scam and she hopes others will learn a lesson.

"People should know nothing is ever for free except the air you breathe," she said.

Lerner says she has no idea who the scammers were able to steal her check.

Charleston Police told us they have not heard about any other local businesses being targeted.

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