“Don’t Use the Red Flag – Take Mail to Post Office – Check Fraud Alert” by Joan Y. Edwards
Someone stole a check from our mailbox on Monday, January 27, 2014. They used it to get the routing number and bank account number. They used it at the Walmart to cash two checks for $96.40.
Last year, Wal-Mart saved me from credit card fraud. They saved a friend from being scammed from a large amount of money (Read about it here: Beware: Scam of Grandparents). These fraudulent thieves were slick. Even Wal-Mart didn’t catch them.
According to what I’ve read. (You knew I’d research it, didn’t you?) Perhaps the thieves “washed” my amount off and then wrote a new amount. Then they made a copy of that check. So they have two checks for the same amount. I was lucky. Wal-Mart refunded my money. Thank you, Wal-Mart. A that particular store they did the electronic check cashing; therefore, they didn’t send a physical copy of the check to me at my bank, just the amounts and the check numbers. These guys used two different check numbers, not the real check number on the check. I still had the actual checks with those numbers still in my checkbook. I showed them to my banker.
The thief may have a chemical to erase the amount you put and write in his own amount without being detected…especially if you use a ball point pen (which I did). Check fraud.org says that there are special checks with new security measures. My favorite is one that when someone tries to “wash” the amount with a chemical, the word VOID streaks across the check. Yes. That’s when the Good Guys win.
I don’t usually leave mail in my mailbox to be picked up. However, I really wanted that particular check to be mailed that day so it would get to its destination on time. The irony: It never got there because someone stole it.
I had to get a new checking account, change my automatic drafts, change my bill pays, change my automatic deposits. It was definitely a headache. As my younger daughter and my cousin said, “It was a kick in the __.”
Take action. Protect yourself from check fraud.
Write your checks using the Uniball 207(Gel). It’s hard to erase with chemicals.
Use automatic bank drafts and bill pay services.
Ask your bank about special checks that help prevent the possibility of “washing” (erasing) your check.
Read this article from beginning to end: Check Fraud.org. “Check Washing:” http://www.ckfraud.org/washing.html
Take outgoing mail to a Post Office. If possible, put it inside the post office itself or in one of the mailboxes designated for pickup. Check it first to make sure it’s not so filled up your letter won’t drop below.
Don’t put outgoing mail in your mailbox. If you must do that, don’t put the red flag up on your mailbox – it alerts the thieves to get your mail.
For incoming mail: Get a lock mailbox that has a slit big enough for your letters to get through, but not a hand. Here’s a large metal black lockable mailbox I found many with large price tags.
What we need is a video camera set up inside the mailbox that will take a picture of the person getting the mail out of the mailbox!
Current 2022 Top 10 List of Scams and Frauds (consumerfraudreporting.org):