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  #1  
Old 02-23-2012, 06:02 AM
Panzram Panzram is offline
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Someone is trying to take money from my checking account. Help.

Hi guys. So here's the situation. I have a checking account at a local bank that I would like to keep secure. Unfortunately someone I know was able to acquire a blank check with my routing information and so on. It had not been signed, the check itself had nothing on it at all except the words VOID on the front as well as on the Sign Here space on the back of the check. By itself, the check can't be cashed or used for much. Or can it? Now that this person has the routing information and the account number that are on each check, can she charge things to my account? Is there anything I can do that doesn't involve closing my account?

Thanks for your help.

Panzram
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  #2  
Old 02-23-2012, 06:05 AM
Smeghead Smeghead is offline
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You can place orders online lots of places using checking account information for payment. I'd contact your bank and just ask for a new account number.
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  #3  
Old 02-23-2012, 06:21 AM
Sparky812 Sparky812 is offline
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The VOID cheque and its information is usually for deposits into your account.
It's basically just the address for your account without the keys, you can put stuff in the mail slot but you can't take anything out.
On-line orders, Paypal, e-cheques, etc. usually require verification before any accounts are set up or funds transferred.
Unless, she is a forger or on-line fraudster, I think you're pretty safe. I suppose you could report that that a cheque(s) stolen and order new ones, and/or ask the bank to change your account number to feel safer.
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:23 AM
Panzram Panzram is offline
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Thank you for your help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smeghead View Post
You can place orders online lots of places using checking account information for payment. I'd contact your bank and just ask for a new account number.

Yeah, you're probably right. I should just get the number changed and update my information with all the necessary places. I hadn't used the routing information to order anything in so long that I just couldn't remember if I had to use the number on the back in order to take out something like an automatic payment or not. You see, this person was able to acquire a check and I believe intends to use it in order to make an automatic payment on her car insurance each month, and possibly other things too. From what I've been able to get from her, she's already given All-State the information and so now they are going to automatically withdraw the money from my account. Obviously I don't want to pay this person's insurance. Or anything else that might come up. So I guess that means I'm going to have no choice but to change my numbers before that payment is automatically taken out, and before she has time to take me for all that I'm worth. However, I'm very fortunate that I don't really have much money in the bank anyway.

I have only a few dollars in the account currently, but I still don't want to be charged for overdrafting or anything like that if she tries to use my information for something. In general, I tend to be on the broke side of things, but I still don't want this person to be able to, for example, spend all my money on payday before I can even withdraw my own money to pay my bills. So I'm gonna have to talk to the bank. I'm not paying for ANYTHING. This is simply wrong. I am so angry that this "friend" was able to do this with a clear conscience.

Stay away from people who are quick to tell you what you want to hear, and immediately stab you in the back.

And thank you for your help. I appreciate it.

Sincerely,
Panzram
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  #5  
Old 02-23-2012, 07:02 AM
zut zut is online now
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Wait, what? All checks have the routing information and account number printed on them, as well as the account-holder's name and often address. How is the information your "friend" now has any different than what the liquor store clerk or the guy down the street holding a yard sale would have if you pay by check?

Tons of checks go out into the world all the time. I have a hard time believing that bank security is so fragile that simply having access to a paper check -- you know, the things people use in monetary transactions all the time -- automatically grants access to the checking account.
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  #6  
Old 02-23-2012, 07:14 AM
srzss05 srzss05 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zut View Post
Wait, what? All checks have the routing information and account number printed on them, as well as the account-holder's name and often address. How is the information your "friend" now has any different than what the liquor store clerk or the guy down the street holding a yard sale would have if you pay by check?

Tons of checks go out into the world all the time. I have a hard time believing that bank security is so fragile that simply having access to a paper check -- you know, the things people use in monetary transactions all the time -- automatically grants access to the checking account.
This was my first thought as well. There is a lot of Chicken Little hysteria going on here.
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  #7  
Old 02-23-2012, 07:18 AM
Eliahna Eliahna is online now
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Why does this person think they have nothing to fear from you? Why haven't you threatened legal recourse and made it clear you will follow through?
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  #8  
Old 02-23-2012, 08:12 AM
Darth Panda Darth Panda is offline
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Originally Posted by zut View Post
Wait, what? All checks have the routing information and account number printed on them, as well as the account-holder's name and often address. How is the information your "friend" now has any different than what the liquor store clerk or the guy down the street holding a yard sale would have if you pay by check?

Tons of checks go out into the world all the time. I have a hard time believing that bank security is so fragile that simply having access to a paper check -- you know, the things people use in monetary transactions all the time -- automatically grants access to the checking account.
And when you use a credit card in a restaurant, someone you don't know wanders off with your credit card, and get the number, the 'secret' ccid number, the expiration, and your full name, which is plenty of info to make some fraudulent charges (a lot of places will require a billing address to, but not all).

Anyway, the point isn't to be paranoid about using the credit card, or about using checks. The main thing is that most people don't want to go to jail for fraud (or are just plain good people), so they won't try to rob you, just like you've probably walked past thousands of people who could have beaten the crap out of you and taken your wallet with ease in the last year alone.

It sounds like the OP's situation is that he feels as though this particular person has bad intent toward them, in which case it makes sense to be cautious, just like you don't walk down the alley where the ex-con who hates you is hanging out.

Last edited by Darth Panda; 02-23-2012 at 08:12 AM..
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  #9  
Old 02-23-2012, 08:18 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zut View Post
Wait, what? All checks have the routing information and account number printed on them, as well as the account-holder's name and often address. How is the information your "friend" now has any different than what the liquor store clerk or the guy down the street holding a yard sale would have if you pay by check?

Tons of checks go out into the world all the time. I have a hard time believing that bank security is so fragile that simply having access to a paper check -- you know, the things people use in monetary transactions all the time -- automatically grants access to the checking account.
It's not at all different, except that the motivation of this person seems to be to steal money, while the motivation of the person at the liquor store seems to be to take the payment due and probably keep the check writer as a repeat customer, so he won't steal from him.

Yes, it really is that insecure. All you need to give people who use EBT or "electronic check" systems is the routing number, account number and the name of the bank. They can then deposit OR withdraw funds to your account, and it's EXCEEDINGLY difficult to get them to stop. The bank plays this, "we can't stop it once it leaves the clearinghouse" game, with a side of, "we can't stop it before it happens again next month, either" which may be true, but if it is, it's a terrible system.

OP, yes, I'm afraid you really do need to close this account and open another (or maybe the bank will change the account number on this one.) Either way, yes, you'll have to update the information with your creditors.


ETA: My source for this information? My grandmother has Alzheimer's and home health care. Her credit cards and checkbooks get stolen with fatiguing regularity. We've had to go round and round with several banks. Credit cards are much easier, actually, because they will freeze accounts on request while it's all sorted out.

Last edited by WhyNot; 02-23-2012 at 08:21 AM..
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  #10  
Old 02-23-2012, 09:50 AM
Smeghead Smeghead is offline
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Well, if the person in question has already used the information to set up recurring payments for their insurance, I'd say that worry about fraudulent use of the information is hardly a sign of raging paranoia.
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  #11  
Old 02-23-2012, 10:01 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smeghead View Post
You can place orders online lots of places using checking account information for payment. I'd contact your bank and just ask for a new account number.
In my experience you can only order goods and services delivered to the billing address in this manner, so it's not much use to anyone who wants to buy stuff for themselves, unless they also manage to intercept the stuff they order.
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  #12  
Old 02-23-2012, 10:11 AM
VOW VOW is offline
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It doesn't matter if you have little to no money in your account. A true scammer will put the account info up for sale, and thousands of dollars will be charged almost overnight. You go screaming to the bank, the bank freezes the account, there will be a lot of arguing, and then you wind up being responsible for only fifty dollars.

I say, close the account. Then head over to the local police station and file a report. This "friend" probably has a long, long history with law enforcement.


~VOW
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  #13  
Old 02-23-2012, 11:40 AM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VOW View Post
It doesn't matter if you have little to no money in your account. A true scammer will put the account info up for sale, and thousands of dollars will be charged almost overnight. You go screaming to the bank, the bank freezes the account, there will be a lot of arguing, and then you wind up being responsible for only fifty dollars.

I say, close the account. Then head over to the local police station and file a report. This "friend" probably has a long, long history with law enforcement.


~VOW
And in the meantime, your account is frozen and all your *own*stuff starts to bounce, and if you've got direct deposit, all of a sudden you don't have income either.

If the OP truly believes the person has bad intent, then definitely change the account number (or close / reopen) ASAP - and make sure the bank knows not to accept any more transactions on the old account. Notify your employer as well since that's probably the main (only) source of money being *added* to your account.

I do agree that you need to contact the police - the "friend" has TOLD you she has already done something fraudulent.

Please update us on what transpires - the gall of the "friend" flat out telling you she means to steal from you is truly stunning.
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  #14  
Old 02-23-2012, 11:42 AM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
In my experience you can only order goods and services delivered to the billing address in this manner, so it's not much use to anyone who wants to buy stuff for themselves, unless they also manage to intercept the stuff they order.
"Services" is the key - the thief just might have the OP's address listed with the insurer.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:05 PM
handsomeharry handsomeharry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panzram View Post
Yeah, you're probably right. I should just get the number changed and update my information with all the necessary places. I hadn't used the routing information to order anything in so long that I just couldn't remember if I had to use the number on the back in order to take out something like an automatic payment or not. You see, this person was able to acquire a check and I believe intends to use it in order to make an automatic payment on her car insurance each month, and possibly other things too. From what I've been able to get from her, she's already given All-State the information and so now they are going to automatically withdraw the money from my account. Obviously I don't want to pay this person's insurance. Or anything else that might come up. So I guess that means I'm going to have no choice but to change my numbers before that payment is automatically taken out, and before she has time to take me for all that I'm worth. However, I'm very fortunate that I don't really have much money in the bank anyway.

I have only a few dollars in the account currently, but I still don't want to be charged for overdrafting or anything like that if she tries to use my information for something. In general, I tend to be on the broke side of things, but I still don't want this person to be able to, for example, spend all my money on payday before I can even withdraw my own money to pay my bills. So I'm gonna have to talk to the bank. I'm not paying for ANYTHING. This is simply wrong. I am so angry that this "friend" was able to do this with a clear conscience.

Stay away from people who are quick to tell you what you want to hear, and immediately stab you in the back.

And thank you for your help. I appreciate it.

Sincerely,
Panzram
Sounds like a good story. Care to whip it on us?
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  #16  
Old 02-23-2012, 01:38 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handsomeharry View Post
Sounds like a good story. Care to whip it on us?
Probably like what happened to me 30ish years ago when I lived in Virginia Beach. Asshole roomie's girlfriend managed to get ahold of a check from my checkbook, swiped my mail from the bank with my cancelled checks and started forging checks on my account to pay her electricity - she slipped a forged check with her payment info and payment slip into the electrical bill going into the mail for *my* apartment [I had asked my roomie to run the mail to the post office on his way to work, they steamed open the envelope, slipped the bogus check clipped to her bill in with our bill and the good check, resealed it and popped it into the mail.]

I would guess that with the banking information, the person went online and filled out the autopay for the car insurance and some bills. With the proper name of hte person and billing address assigned to the checking account, the autopay functions pass the quick validity check and start removing the autopay from the stolen account.
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  #17  
Old 02-23-2012, 02:23 PM
redtail23 redtail23 is offline
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1. File a report with the police immediately. You must have this. If anything slips through, this is what you will need to get your money back.

2. Go to your bank immediately thereafter. Tell them what has happened. They will move your funds to a new account. They should also be able to help you review your account for improper transfers, and figure out what automatic transfers need to get fixed.

3. Then starts the fun of getting all your stuff transferred over. It'll be a pain, but much better than having your account cleaned out and then having to do it all anyway.
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  #18  
Old 02-23-2012, 07:55 PM
handsomeharry handsomeharry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
Probably like what happened to me 30ish years ago when I lived in Virginia Beach. Asshole roomie's girlfriend managed to get ahold of a check from my checkbook, swiped my mail from the bank with my cancelled checks and started forging checks on my account to pay her electricity - she slipped a forged check with her payment info and payment slip into the electrical bill going into the mail for *my* apartment [I had asked my roomie to run the mail to the post office on his way to work, they steamed open the envelope, slipped the bogus check clipped to her bill in with our bill and the good check, resealed it and popped it into the mail.]

I would guess that with the banking information, the person went online and filled out the autopay for the car insurance and some bills. With the proper name of hte person and billing address assigned to the checking account, the autopay functions pass the quick validity check and start removing the autopay from the stolen account.
Wow!
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  #19  
Old 02-24-2012, 07:27 AM
Sparky812 Sparky812 is offline
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As others have said. File a police report, report it to your bank and document, document, document!

As an aside, WTF does she think the insurance company will do to her? They are way less forgiving for missed payments/bounced cheques and keep better records than the banks and credit rating organisations combined. Fuck around with them, and you'll be lucky to get approved or be able to afford insurance again in this lifetime!

Last edited by Sparky812; 02-24-2012 at 07:29 AM..
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  #20  
Old 02-24-2012, 03:50 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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The auto payment also needs a copy of your signature. Signature forgeryis a crime. As is fraud.

First, unless you are so irresponsible you NEED overdraft protection, get rid of it. The cheque bounces, it bounces. She has to pay the insurance company, plus an overdraft charge. If a charge is made to your account that you did not authorize, dispute it, get it reversed, and have the company banned from auto-deducting from your account.

If the company or the bank claim they can't straighten it out improper payments, take them to small claims court. That should wake them up.

if you hav an inkling ahead of time this is going to happen, call that insurance company and ensure they do NOT use your account information.

Last edited by md2000; 02-24-2012 at 03:51 PM..
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  #21  
Old 02-24-2012, 04:11 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Your best bet is to start with the bank and change your bank account - I know you wanted to avoid that, but this account is seriously compromised now - close the account and keep your ass covered. Your next stop is the police - she needs to be charged with theft/fraud.

I once had a bank account cleaned out by what I assumed was my rental agent at my apartment - they had a copy of my monthly cheque, complete with signature, and they knew how much money would be in my account and when. The bank was very helpful when I signed a sworn statement that the person who had withdrawn the money wasn't me - she had forged my signature (but not very well - we could tell it wasn't me, but close enough for a casual glance). Uh, I think I started this story with a point - look after your bank accounts.
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  #22  
Old 02-24-2012, 04:34 PM
SmellMyWort SmellMyWort is offline
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Since you know the insurance company and this person's name, I'd call the company and report what's going on. Do this after you notify your bank and make a police report, though.
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