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Bozeman banks were lately the target of the “Operation Homeless” scam, according to a detective



Bozeman, Montana – In a recent occurrence, a number of Bozeman-area banks became targets of a nationwide scam referred to as “Operation Homeless.” This scheme involves convincing homeless individuals to cash fraudulent checks, as identified by law enforcement.

“They usually present this fraud as something like, you know, they can’t cash their own paycheck for some reason and they try to give it some kind of plausible deniability for the individual that they’re trying to convince to cash the check for them,” says Bozeman Police Detective Jake Ahmann. “In exchange, that individual is going to be promised some smaller dollar amount of the figure.”

Ahmann explains that Operation Homeless constitutes a nationwide fraudulent check-cashing scam, characterized by a well-structured operation that convinces homeless individuals to cash counterfeit checks. During the latest incident, which affected multiple banks in the region, including First Security Bank, law enforcement successfully alerted nearby towns prior to the scam spreading further.

“In this most recent case, with those relationships with the banks and then with local law enforcement efforts all around Livingston, Livingston police were able to apprehend two individuals that actually had, like, the printers and the checks with them,” says Detective Ahmann. “So that was a really big win for law enforcement in that case.”

Detective Ahmann highlights the challenging nature of detecting fraud of this kind, as individuals enter the bank with genuine IDs and seemingly authentic checks. Often, it takes several days for the banks to realize they’ve been deceived and have lost money. Ahmann emphasizes that the banks are not at fault for falling victim to such scams.

“I want to emphasize that it’s no fault of their own and the individuals that with the, like the names that were on the check, you know, they are reimbursed by the bank,” says Ahmann. “So the bank is ultimately the one that’s out the funds. So that’s why they become the victim.”

The Bozeman Police Department issues alerts to banks regarding these scams and is currently investigating another potential group of scammers who might be in the area for similar purposes.

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