Monday, November 17, 2014
It's funny, because I had planned to write something about what we dread, and why we shouldn't. I mean, we're all prepared for what we dread. We get out the catcher's mitt, strap on the vest, and crouch there, eyes trained on the pitcher's mound or third base.
But that which hits the noggin always sails from right field.
So, someone, somewhere along the line -- between the Altadena post office and its ultimate destination -- stole my check to a credit card company, and changed the name from XXX Credit Card company, to a Gertie N-something, and cashed it. Which at first I thought highly unlikely. I wrote the credit card company name in the Pay-to line, and the account number in the memo section.
But it turns out, it's relatively easy for someone to hijack your check and "wash" everything you wrote on the check except the date and your sig. Did you know that? I didn't.
The good news is, if your account has been robbed in such a way, you are not liable, and the bank's fraud division will pretty much handle the whole mess. The bad news is, restitution won't happen overnight.
Should check fraud happen to you, here's what I have to offer:
1. Call the bank. You'll be talking to someone off-shore. It'll be kind of awful, and you'll be left thinking -oh fuck, I'm stuck with the loss and have to lodge some lame claim at the local Sheriff's Department. Not true. Call. Get it on your file. Over and out.
2. Visit a living, breathing bank branch manager. Trust me on this -- whoever you meet will practically hold your hand and guide you through the whole process.
3. You probably won't see the $$'s returned for another month. And you'll have to cover the money in question during the interim.
4. There will be paperwork; you'll have to sign stuff. Time. It'll take time. And much as banks want us to do everything online, when it comes to anything they deem important, information must travel, back and forth, via US mail. Go figure.
PS: If you live in Altadena, apparently there's active theft going on in the mailboxes outside the Altadena Post Office on Lake Street. Don't know why the Sheriff's Dept hasn't addressed this issue. In any case, beware.
Additional PS: If you still write paper checks, gel pens are your best bet to fight the "wash." In Altadena, Hoopla! on Fair Oaks has them in stock, and owner Lori Webster specifically recommends the brand Signo. For more info on gel pens, check out the comments.