A Check– Stolen From the Mailbox

A friend just posted on Facebook a warning to her neighbors that someone stole a check she was sending out that day in the mail. My first advice was, tell your bank– a check has the full bank account number printed on it as well as your personal signature. Apparently the bank advised her to close the account stopping honoring her checks at the number before that of the stolen check and switching her funds to a new number. They warned her of the possibility that the thief wouldn’t even try to cash the check but would generate fraudulent checks.

Years ago, another friend found that a stolen check came back to haunt her months after she had closed the account. Apparently the thief took the account number and deposited a small amount to re-activate it, and then used the account, overdrawing it in her name. I hope there are safeties in place now that prevent this kind of happening, but do any of you know?

I am so old fashioned that I still prefer to write a check over using on-line payments, but I will say openly here that I may be stupid in doing so. What do the rest of you think? I’d like to know. We can get hacked and passwords stolen, but a bank account number plus signature happens each time we write a check, and whoever deposits it has access to those two things as well. On-line payments have risk too, but which is the better? I have stopped using debit cards since they appear to have fewer protections than credit cards. Paypal, even while you may deplore some of their behaviors, seems a relatively safe way to go. What do you all advise? What are your experiences with the wide world of fraud and identity theft?

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “A Check– Stolen From the Mailbox

  1. KODonnell

    Unfortunately, probably nothing is safe. I think feeling safe online is an illusion. We use our credit card to pay for everything because you can dispute charges. I think credit cards are a better way to go than debit cause once the cash is gone, it’s gone. The same for checks too. The bad news is we’ve had our credit card number stolen 3 times. The good news is the credit card company took all the charges off every time.

  2. Good to know. I have had my credit card info taken once too, but the credit card company caught the oddity notified us, asked if the charges were legitimate and then waived all costs. I really appreciated that too! Maybe safety in any realm is something of an illusion….

  3. I use all methods of payment: check, debit, credit; but have heard that checks are the worst. Knock on wood, I haven’t had problems with any of those payment methods.

  4. Robin SL

    Never had a problem with checks, in nearly 40 years of using them. Credit card stolen once – although it ultimately cost us nothing in $, straightening it out took my husband and me at least 40 hours.

    I think checks are safer, because with online/credit theft access to one asset seems to lead directly to risk to other accounts/assets. Also, we set up with our credit union a phone password – if anyone tries to move or close our account, change a mailing address or add an owner, they have to know the verbal secret word.

    • Thank you for that idea about the credit union password! I’ve also felt a bit better over the social media exposure after making a code sent to my phone necessary before my email accounts can be altered in any way, and I do change passwords at intervals.

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