Bad checks

My old neighborhood listserve is currently abuzz with tales of people who’ve put their checks in the mail, only to have them stolen and cashed by bad guys, who often bumped up the amounts while they were at it. Apparently the blue mailboxes on corners are not particularly secure, and there’s one in particular in that neighborhood that’s highly suspect.

My first thought was: mail checks?! Who does that? I pay everything online. When I had a cleaning lady, I left her check on the counter, didn’t put it into the mail. But on further thought, I realized that yes, there are some times still that I put a check in the mail.

My second thought, when reading about people catching the discrepancies on their monthly statements, was: statements? I check all my, and my dad’s, accounts, online. Usually daily.

Anyway, one of the neighbors posted this gem:
https://www.ironbank.com/resources/education/financial-liter…

So, going forward, when I do write checks, I’ll use a black gel pen. :slight_smile:
And continue to monitor all accounts frequently.

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I mail any checks right at the post office. And not in the outside box either–I go into the lobby and use the letter slot. I pay annual property and car tax in person at the county office (about 2 miles from me–closer than the PO!). As long as I avoid the last few days of the month and go around 10:30am, there isn’t a line at the county treasury office in my town.

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I pay all taxes online (fed, state, property (when I owned), car).
Groceries, gas, etc all go onto credit cards; credit cards all paid online. Insurance, rent, utilities, all paid online.

Basically, the only checks I write are to my sister, for helping w/ Dad. She cashes them. Doesn’t have a checking or savings account. She’s the most off-the-grid (financially) person I know, but she does have an iPhone and a credit card. I think she goes to the Post Office for money orders to pay for those. Pays her mortgage in person at the bank (probably brings cash), probably uses money orders for utilities.
She has her reasons, and I basically don’t want to hear about it because I just get mad.

I also send Dad’s AL place a check every so often as a bonus for the aides there. The usual monthly fee, of course, is drawn directly from his checking account.

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YewGuise
But on further thought, I realized that yes, there are some times still that I put a check in the mail.

My second thought, when reading about people catching the discrepancies on their monthly statements, was: statements? I check all my, and my dad’s, accounts, online. Usually daily.

So, going forward, when I do write checks, I’ll use a black gel pen. :slight_smile:
And continue to monitor all accounts frequently.

  1. Pay on line? Yep, big time, 98.9% of all ‘outgoing’.
  2. Verify/check bank accounts? Yep. i.e. DAILY
  3. Still use ‘paper’? Yep. The ‘big’ outlays are the Christmas checks. Not as lovely as ‘real’ gifts to all the kids and Gkids, but the color and size are always ‘perfect’!
  4. CA DMV also gets paper via USPS; on line is WAY too technical there.
  5. Annual usage of mailed checks? >>>100, between DW and yours truly.

Fun anecdote: We’ve filed annually with the US IRS via on line “forever”. From day one, ALL SS checks TO us have been paid to us on line “forever”. Then, when the ‘stimulus’ checks were doled out? UNCLE SAMMY SENT US PAPER. Go figure, I can’t.

(They’re not COMPLETELY in the dark; on the years when we get a 1040 refund, they DO send that to us on line!)

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I am in charge of all bills and keep tabs on our joint checking account.
Last weekend I saw we had apparently paid over $8,000 to someone in a bank in Utah…something called ALLY bank. A large fraud…a problem that someone somewhere has succeeded in doing by internet…
We have called, emailed, talked with, waited hours and hours on the phone with staff and OUR bank still hasn’t sent us, even by email, the fraud claim we HAVE to fill in…they SAY they will.

Pretty scary.

My husband is a true unflappable Englishman ( even though he is an American citizen these days…) and still hasn’t lost his temper or become seriously angry with any bank employee. He doesn’t believe our local branch can handle this so we aren’t going there a) because I am on medical “rest” for two days and b)he himself no longer drives…

If any of you swiped nearly $8.5 thousand from one of our accounts could you please send it back again?
Thanks.

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The ‘big’ outlays are the Christmas checks. Not as lovely as ‘real’ gifts to all the kids and Gkids, but the color and size are always ‘perfect’!

For my kids, direct transfer to their checking accounts. For nieces/nephews, Venmo.

For my grandson’s 529, direct transfer from my checking account. It’s kind of messy, though. I suspect the 529 company (www.brightstart.com) is used to getting checks, and isn’t particularly interested in streamlining the online options.

For DMV, I had to write checks for initial license & registration, but have been able to renew online, luckily.

Oh, the other check I write is to Dad’s CPA. I guess I could ask her about alternatives, but it’s only once per year, so I’ll just continue with the checks, using a black gel pen.

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We have called, emailed, talked with, waited hours and hours on the phone with staff and OUR bank still hasn’t sent us, even by email, the fraud claim we HAVE to fill in…they SAY they will.

If you haven’t already, file a report at your local police department. While they themselves can’t do jack about it, it does prove that you have done your part to alert the bank that there’s a problem should they drag this beyond the typical 30 days limitation.

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We have called, emailed, talked with, waited hours and hours on the phone with staff and OUR bank still hasn’t sent us, even by email, the fraud claim we HAVE to fill in…they SAY they will.

I think you have to report fraud in writing within 30 days. So, while you’re waiting for them to send you their form, write your own letter and send it to them (certified mail with return receipt).

Can other posters advise other action? Police? Attorney General? Senator? … ?

I mail any checks right at the post office. And not in the outside box either–I go into the lobby and use the letter slot.

We don’t mail many checks. Most of the time I will use the outside box at the post office providing there is room for it to be properly deposited and it is only a few hours before the next pickup.

It is routine for us to drive by two local post offices. There are times normally after a holiday I see people trying to force more letters into the outside mailbox. Those would be very easy to steal.

vkg
It is routine for us to drive by two local post offices. There are times normally after a holiday I see people trying to force more letters into the outside mailbox. Those would be very easy to steal

This is a major ‘peeve’ for me. At Christmas time, mail volume, deposits at boxes, is ALWAYS more than normal. Boxes fill, more than normal. Easy for them to get to overflowing.

That folks ‘in the building’ don’t flex to the higher volume, and see to it that collecting is done MORE than normal, is just plain ignorant. Such inattention to an obvious need just makes it that much easier to poke sticks and fun at them.

SOMEONE, who can make decisions at the USPS, needs to see that at Christmas time the collection boxes are emptied more frequently, before they get to overflow / stuffed status. It is NOT rocket science for goodness sakes.

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other action?..

… contact your bank …
File a report with your local police…
Contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or www.ftc.gov;
The FBI Internet Fraud Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov;
and if the scam involves the US mail, the U.S. Postal Inspector Service, by phone at 1-888-877-7644 or postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MailFraudComplaint.aspx.

from https://www.erai.com/erai_blog/3047/_check_fraud_who_is_liab…

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Around here local police are busy with higher priority crimes and don’t get involved with minor financial crimes unless lots of people are hit or there’s $500k+ lost.

Second the police report, some companies don’t take you seriously until you file a police report.

Attorney General, Senators, will give you boiler plate responses, unless of course you have pull or it’s a significant enough loss (see first paragraph.)

Also second the opinion, calling is nice, make sure you follow up in writing.

Then, when the ‘stimulus’ checks were doled out? UNCLE SAMMY SENT US PAPER. Go figure, I can’t.

(They’re not COMPLETELY in the dark; on the years when we get a 1040 refund, they DO send that to us on line!)

Yes, that’s what happened. For stimulus payments, Treasury used a database of taxpayers who received refunds by direct deposit. That database did not contain information about taxpayers who had tax to pay and paid it by direct debit.

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