Thursday, May 21, 2009

Check Fraud

I've been waiting to post about this until I had some resolution, and now I do.

In early April, I received an email from the bank saying that they'd transferred money to cover an overdraft. I knew there was enough money in the account so I immediately checked and saw two charges totaling $800 to two different Walmarts. I never go to Walmart so I called the bank and we went through the process of filing a report which involved answering a series of questions that basically said I had nothing to do with the charges and I was not involved in some elaborate, impressive sounding theft conspiracy involving buying things and then walking away with the merchandice while claiming fraud (people do this? yeesh.)

That all completed I had two incident numbers and a promise of 10 days to resolve it.
(though it all worked out in the end.) Since they weren't sure if it was just a mistake or actual fraud, they suggested leaving the account as it is for now while they check. To cover some real checks I had coming in I transferred money to cover it. That was a mistake

The next day I checked the account and the balance looked similar except there was a minus sign in front of it. Hmmm. Checking further showed that evil check kiter had written 1300+ to Nordstrom Rack on two different visits. I didn't even know it was possible to spend that much at Nordstrom Rack. The reason the account balance looked similar was a coincidence. They had sent it into the red to nearly the same amount it was in the black yesterday. $#@%@#!!! I could see the check images and they were completely different, but had my name and address on them and my account number. I had the actual blank checks of the check numbers they had chosen. Peeved I called the bank again and this time they said I should freeze the account and go to the branch and open a new account. I told them all the checks that were outstanding. They told me that electronic access would still work but only those checks would go through.

So I went and opened a new account, and told the 5 parties who had the checks. All but the Forest Service said they'd destroy them and I wrote them new ones - the Forest Service had already been sent off and later cleared.

Wells Fargo sent me an affadaviat to fill out. I did and on form they asked my who I thought might be responsible. They're actually asking me to speculate? Wahoo, because I sure had a very good idea who it might be. You see I usually only write checks to friends and dog agility orgs. I have a long history with all these folks and I trust them. The only unknowns were the out of town Forest Service, and a relatively large local Dr's office who I had never been to before. Given that our steroidal shopper was very local and the Forest Service is in Bishop, I had a nice big target to point to and I did so and said why.

Also in my report, just to make things plainly obvious, I included printouts of the cashed checks and my completely different looking blank checks with the exact same number.

To be continued...

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