Another USPS Nightmare

Windwalker

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So, just spent the last 4 hours at the police station and the bank.

I recently sold a business that operated in all 50 states, and due to certain regulatory constructs, I personally owe taxes in over 38 states from the sale proceeds. Some of the states do not accept electronic payments and require physical checks, so last week, I mailed out 15 checks to states like Rhode Island and South Carolina.

All checks were mailed in normal envelopes, dropped off at my local Beverly Hills post office.

I got a call today from the Huntington Beach branch of my bank, asking if I has written a check to a Tony Sotelo for lawn care services. I hadn’t, and asked for the check number. It matched to the check I had written to the South Carolina department of revenue. I rushed to the bank and found that the Rhode Island check had been washed and re-written to a Ana Wilkinson Flores / presented at a Torrance Wells Fargo, and Michigan check had been written to a John Fraser / presented at a downtown Wells Fargo.

I had to completely close out my account and reopen a new one, but the scary part is this: I physically handed my checks to the lady behind the counter at the USPS. Which means someone in that post office physically stole the envelopes / checks based on the addressee.

Be very careful indeed.
 

JMC9389

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For some states to not accept electronic payments in 2021 is absolutely ridiculous. Yet another reason I hand drop off all outgoing chip packages and keep the receipts until the recipients confirm receipt and satisfaction with the transaction.
 

Ben8257

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That is absolutely awful Krish, I guess with modern equipment even the ole wrap your check in grid paper trick doesn't work anymore. Guessing they are scanning packages and can see right through them. I hope it all works out but yes that is a nightmare!

Awesome that the bank let you know right away!
 

Windwalker

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That is absolutely awful Krish, I guess with modern equipment even the ole wrap your check in grid paper trick doesn't work anymore. Guessing they are scanning packages and can see right through them. I hope it all works out but yes that is a nightmare!

Awesome that the bank let you know right away!
I think they just based it on who the envelopes were addressed to, and the timing (Jan 15).
 

Windwalker

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This is crazy. Do you think it would be different if they were sent registered mail?
Hope they nail the theif.
Most likely better as registered. I didn't even consider it to be an issue because I was handing it in directly.
 

FDLmold

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I was in the post office a couple months ago and a business woman was in there with the same problem. Paper checks, mailed in bulk, somewhere between Elkhart and Fort Wayne they were stolen. I didn’t get details of the fraud, but yes the USPS has some problems.
 

CraigT78

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I had a similar issue. Bought my kid a car and had to mail him the title and threw in a check for $100 to pay the registration fees for him. Since I was mailing the title I figured priority flats rate envelope was the way to go.

Dallas to Oklahoma, should have arrived next day. It didn't, and on day two I noticed a pending charge for $5,000 on my Wells Fargo app. The mail was intercepted and someone stole and washed the check.

Thankfully Wells Fargo gave my money back no questions asked. Hope it works out for you with relative ease.
 

liftapint

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This sounds like it's "a thing". It never even dawned on me that I should be concerned sending a personal check in the mail.
What a pain!
 

Highli99

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I am very very careful with personal checks these days. I prefer to use online banking which becomes similar to a cashiers check when mailed. They don't even need to wash the checks all folks need is the account number, aba and check sequence and they go to staples, buy check stock, and print their own checks.
 

Venturalvn

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We didn't check the mail for a day or two while getting our work stations set up at the beginning of COVID and someone had gone through the neighborhood one night and poached mail from every single persons mailbox. Got a knock on the door from the police a month later with multiple checks written to us from our mortgage company to the tunes of thousands of dollars that we never even knew were out for delivery due to some finalizing of refinancing. We no longer leave anything in the mailbox overnight.

I can't imagine finding out that checks you wrote to someone would be poached, and nonetheless from inside the USPS. I'd like to think that it was intercepted in some other way, but there's just no way once a parcel is handed directly to the USPS that it should end up so insecurely prior to delivery that it is intercepted from a third party before even leaving the county. Unacceptable.
 

davislane

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The biggest take away in all of this is that people still use cheques. That was so 90s.

Didn't the banks learn anything after the movie "Catch me if you can"? That movie came out in 2002 and was based on events from 1960's.
 

pltrgyst

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I can't imagine finding out that checks you wrote to someone would be poached, and nonetheless from inside the USPS. I'd like to think that it was intercepted in some other way, but there's just no way once a parcel is handed directly to the USPS that it should end up so insecurely prior to delivery that it is intercepted from a third party before even leaving the county. Unacceptable.

True, but still, please -- certified mail for 38 checks is pocket change for that level of business activity.
 

BillyBluff

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The biggest take away in all of this is that people still use cheques. That was so 90s.

Didn't the banks learn anything after the movie "Catch me if you can"? That movie came out in 2002 and was based on events from 1960's.
I see the problem. The rest of the world had "cheques" that became almost non-existent at the turn of the century due to their inherent security risks. America has "checks" which are obviously completely different and/or highly advanced technology. Who knew?! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:

Seriously, what is a "washed check"? Surely only the address can cash it?
 

davislane

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I see the problem. The rest of the world had "cheques" that became almost non-existent at the turn of the century due to their inherent security risks. America has "checks" which are obviously completely different and/or highly advanced technology. Who knew?! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:

Seriously, what is a "washed check"? Surely only the address can cash it?
A washed cheque refers to when the name of the person and sometimes the amount has been changed. Im sure they use some sort of solvent to remove the ink and rewrite the new details.
 

LeGold

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In the rest if the world people just wash money instead.
 

Frogzilla

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I always go to the bank and ask them to draft a cashiers check. Regular checks with my sloppy signature and my bank account details printed on them have made me so uncomfortable that in my 20 years of having a checking account, I have written exactly 0 checks.
 

Highli99

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The biggest take away in all of this is that people still use cheques. That was so 90s.

Didn't the banks learn anything after the movie "Catch me if you can"? That movie came out in 2002 and was based on events from 1960's.
Early in my career I had a bank client who used Frank Abignale as a consultant. They made a duplicate payment to him, which we found and had refunded. I still remember holding the check from him, signed by him, and laughing at the irony.
 

Colquhoun

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I don’t think you really need to “wash” the ink. With the advent of mobile deposit, you probably just need the original check and a mild understanding of Photoshop.
 

sbp8984

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Damn, sorry to hear about this. It is crazy that cheques are still used in this day and age.

Your situation reminded me of this movie:
catchme.jpg
altered-check.jpg
 

chrismurda

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Prior Years of working at the bank (Wells Fargo) has taught me to issue cashier or bank checks whenever possible, no amount too small if you have an account that waives the fee to purchase one. utilizing the small perks adds security and peace of mind.
 

Schmendr1ck

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Sorry to hear about the annoyance.

I almost have to blow the dust off my checkbook each time I write a physical check. I use the bill pay service offered by my credit union, even for one-offs. They'll send funds via EBT when it's possible, or print and mail a physical check for me when it's not.

More convenient, much safer, and no additional cost to me.
 

Thomacetti

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That's why I will NEVER go USPS International again...this time they were here a day early :)

Yeah...awsome DHL (German Grundigheid) and 33 lbs of pure gold

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