Let me set the scene. I wrote out checks to pay 2 bills, put them in their assigned envelopes with the stub from the creditor with our account# on it, etc. My husband put them in the mailbox at 6:00 am this morning.
Fastforward to 12:30 pm. I am enjoying a leisurely sushi lunch with my two girlfriends when I receive a call on my cell phone. "Hello, Heather". "Yes, this is she". "This is Patricia from XXX Bank, did you write a check to Mr. John Allen for $300 for A/C repairs recently?" "Ugh, no". "Hmmmm...yeah we didn't think so either but he did try to cash one drawn on your account with your forged signature." "Is he still there at the bank?". "No, he took off we did retain the check and need you to come down as soon as possible." "Thank you Patricia, I'll be there in 15 minutes". "Ok, I'll flag your account that there is fraudlent activity so that if he tries to cash anymore checks on your account they will not be cashed". "Thank you, I'll see you soon".
My mind was racing as to where this guy could have gotten my checks, etc. When I got to the bank I realized he'd stolen them out of my mailbox this morning because he had made a new check (looked like a money order) out to himself, using the EXACT check # I used to pay the bill left in my mailbox, then he forged my name at the bottom and in the memo line wrote "For a/c repair".
He actually went inside the bank lobby to cash it, presented his id, placed his thumbprint on the check and then when the teller told him that she needed to verify the check he said, "Uh, I have a phone call I need to take in my car, I'll be right back!" He promptly hightailed it out to his car, jumped in and sped away. Not before being caught on camera at the bank, leaving his thumbprint on the check and forgetting his state issued id card. Sounds like he should be featured on the next episode of, "America's Dumbest Criminals". The teller also got his license plate # as he zoomed away. What an idiot.
It really was frustrating having to close my account, open a new one, close my two credit card accounts from the bills he stole out of my mailbox. Thankfully, because of the vigilance of the bank teller no money was stolen from me. But, what a jerk.
It really angers me that people are that hard up for money that they pull scheme's like this. I cannot press charges against him because he didn't get any money out of it. I'm frustrated that I cannot press charges for forgery though. Ugh! Why does our justice system always protect the predator rather than the victim.
My word of caution to anyone who pays bills and put's them in their own mailbox to mail out, and raises the red flag. You are ONLY raising the red flag to alert the criminals that you have outgoing mail then can take. PLEASE...save yourself the heartache and, take any bills you need to pay to a post office or secure postal drop off facility. You will divert all potential problems like this. Also, if you pay a bill and the creditor's note says to include account # on the check, so that it's easier for them to process your payment. DON'T, only put the last 4 digits of your account number on your check. Now if the coupon enclosed in the envelope with your check already has your account number pre-printed on it, well you're basically out of luck if it gets in the criminals hand. Sad and scary, but it happens.
Hope everyone has a safe Labor Day. Don't forget mail doesn't come/or go out on Monday, so REALLY don't leave outgoing bills in your mailbox with the red flag up over the long holiday weekend.