Getting scammed, hurts all over.

Wait a minute. I don’t know about check law where you are, but where I come from forged checks are the bank’s problem. You never gave them permission to give away $4500 from your account. Go see a lawyer. I know you’re broke, but is there some sort of free or community lawyer service who could do you a letter?

After seeing your comments in another thread, RyJae, I have to come in here and say more. Until a lawyer qualified in your jurisdiction tells you different, you need to quit letting the bank get away with placing the spin on this that the $4500 has been stolen from you: it has been stolen from the bank by a thief using a forged cheque. Until such time as the bank can explain to you the legal basis upon which it has deducted $4500 from your account without your authority, they have no right to have deducted that money from your account.

If you know the town of the scammer, look up the local newspaper or TV station. If you can bend the ear of the news editor they might consider doing a story on it and help to locate the scammer. It’s a long shot, but the autism background storyline just might work with them. Some have consumer reporters. A TV News editor thinks of ratings so a summer TV investigation would make their September ratings period for them. Sell the story as their best interest.

Good luck.

I have a load of hope that this will resolve itself positively. As for lawyers and the like if it comes to it, it will but this just all exploded late last week. Right now it’s stress and more stress. I was close to falling into a funk but hung on.
I wrote this OP to vent, to cry, to moan. And also to look at my options, returning my money is a great option, the best! Waiving all the overdraft charges etc as well. But this was more about the loss of a piece of ourselves, not just me but my whole family. On this board I’ve opened up a bit, but never to the degree on the autism board, because there we where in the same boat, after the same goals you know what I mean? We traded pictures of our children there like many do of there kitty cats here. And it crushed me emotionally. I’ve been hurt, not just stolen from but hurt. I hope this makes some sense, even a little?

As for a plan, tomorrow faxing the police report to bank/electric company and hope for the best.

For the thread Rick started, me and mine appreciate it, we are discussing it now, Rick did it then asked, it along with the other email we received where two of the kindest acts to make a lousy few days seem bearable. More to follow, I wish I could continue but its hard to think about this right now, fatigue and just everything is making it hard for me to see to type to think to function.

Why are you faxing a police report to the bank? Nothing’s been stolen from you. Get into the right mindset. Instead, you need to be demanding that the bank put the money it has taken from you account right back until such time as it can produce an authority from you to ever have taken it out.

Sucky stuff. The bank will reimburse you your money, but expect them to drag this until forever. Someone in there will get in a pile of trouble for this and he will do what he can to have this dumped on you instead of on him. Be ready for a nasty fight.

Do you have any credit cards you can get a cash advance from? Not an ideal solution but certainly better than having power cut out. Just from an ATM you should be able to get $400 a day without having to face a teller. Or one of those sharky check cashing sites where they give cash advances on your paycheck. There are way to get cash in an emergency like this. They will all cost you an arm and a leg in fees, but sometimes you need to do what you need to do.

You might consider talking to the FBI; they have an electronic crimes section these days. And it totally sucks. I can’t believe the bank would just go ahead and clean you out without checking with you first. Talk to the banking commission; there’s got to be some way to get the bank to recompense you for their part in the fraud.

It shouldn’t - PayPal horror stories are everywhere. PayPal Sucks, as you probably can figure out, is one such clearinghouse of places for complaints. Basically, I’ve heard a lot of stories about PayPal doing stuff with accounts and money that benefit them and screw over the customer, and get away with it.

I’m an honest person (believe me, I am!), and from what I’ve read and heard, I would never, ever, EVER touch PayPal with a ten-foot pole.

(Oh, yes, and my sympathies to the OP, and there have been some good ideas here on how to proceed.)

That was my first complaint actually to the bank, why would they do that, I’ve never ever made a check that large in the first place. And she said something like this “Our policy is to not delay our customers money transactions” not word for word but close.
Tomorrow is a new day, hopefully a better one.

On the assumption that you are located in the United States.

I’m a bank information security analyst and I support some of our anti-ID theft systems. I don’t have customer contact, but hopefully, this can be of some help…

Check your bank’s website or call the main customer service number and get hooked up with their identity theft unit. Check alteration isn’t truly ID theft, but it’s generally been lumped into that category now. At the absolute minimum, close that checking account. You may want to consider changing banks. Their response that you’ve described is beyond terrible. Mind if I ask who you’re banking with?

Normal procedure (at least among the more consumer-friendly banks) is for the bank to quickly credit back the money, and they send the check back to whatever bank they got it from (ie: where the fraudster deposited it) and get their money back from that bank, and saying in effect “Your teller or proof department should have noticed the alteration. We don’t want our customer t pay for your negligence, and we’re sure not going to pay for it either.”

Contact the local police and file a report. You may also want to call your state’s Attorney General, and call the Federal Trade Commission hotline at 1-877-ID THEFT (1-877-438-4338) to speak with a trained identity theft counselor. Or submit a complaint to FTC’s secure online database at Your information may be shared with other law enforcement agencies investigating identity theft. Perhaps if you can supply the power company with the police report, they’ll be more forgiving.

You may wish to consider putting a fraud alert on your credit report. For more information about the steps to take and for credit reports, contact:

* Equifax: 1-800-525-6285 or
* Experian: 1-888-397-3742 or
* TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 or

Being the victim of fraud sucks. Your bank should be willing to make it less painful.

That’s normal for any bank. They’ll assume a paper check is legit unless you tell them otherwise.

Electronic transactions, OTOH, they probably do monitor, and if they’re on the ball, they’ll call you if something pops up unusual, like multiple transactions at a single gas station (it’s common for crooks to fill up their car and their buddies’ cars with stolen cards, for example) or a manually-keyed transaction from several states over, which could be an innocent phone order, or it could be someone swiped your card number.

I’d rather be in the dark for a month than pay 99.25% interest to CashCall.

gotpasswords is exactly correct. Your bank is responsible. If they won’t cooperate your first call should be to your states atty. general’s office. You will likely be required to sign a statement, swearing that a fraud has been committed, but the bank is required to replace the funds until, or unless, they have evidence that you were involved in the fraud.
I am having a problem understanding how a personal check can be altered from $500.00 to $5000.00. Not saying it’s impossible, but it’s not as easy as adding a zero if you know the proper way to fill out the required info. on a check.

My firm had one of our checks (OK, cheque, but same deal) altered by an employee at another company. The bank subsequently gave us a photocopy of it, as altered, for curiosity’s sake (we are a very good and long standing customer). The alteration was something that might pass the most casual of glances, but was obvious even on a quite basic review. Nonetheless, the bank paid out on it. The bank admitted that they really didn’t check beyond a quick glance unless the cheque was over a (remarkably high) amount. Reading between the lines, I suspect that the cost of checking each one carefully (with millions passed every day) would outweigh the amount lost through fraud, so they just take a pragmatic attitude.

My point being that it’s pretty easy to do a crappy job of altering a cheque, and that may be all you need to do as long as you are not too greedy.

*bolding mine

I had a huge ass problem with this as well, I have the carbon copy of the check it’s done right as I showed the security personal at the bank. When I was talking about this via email with someone from the board, I said “It feels like the bank is trying to rob me again” I understand first off that they have to ensure no fraud on our part, but if it was someones money they knew I bet they would’ve gotten to the bottom of it already. One business day tops. Not this. They’re not blowing me off, but they sure seemed to be taking there time like it’s not there concern.

On to the fraud bank liable thing, I got back up to try to find something on that online, a lot of them say that if someone forges your name, nothing about altering the amounts. I’m sure it’s somewhere and a lawyer would know if it came to that.

I’m no where near as smart as many people who post here, and I’ve made mistakes but for everything I do wrong I try to correct. A bank should do the same, this is clearly the fault of one bank or another either mine or the others. To make my family sweat this out, just isn’t fair. With in minutes of posting I got some good idea’s, that wasn’t the reason for posting, venting was. But the idea’s certainly helped, the goodwill did the most though, the kind words meant more than anything.

Frankly I was more pissed at the electric company when I first composed this OP, to send a shut off for a bounced check I understand, but to not even try to understand is another. Impersonal, dog ate my homework, its in my other pants, whatever they just thought it was another excuse. But they have my history they see I've never bounced, never been further than 30 days behind in over 5 years.  It was wrong, still think it was wrong.  Maybe it was the low ranking employee no-bot response, but irrelevant I composed this OP after talking to her, and I wasn't in a happy mood at all. 

I should really go to sleep, but it’s so hard to do. Thanks for all the advice, the words and the thoughts matter.

Go get some sleep. It will be better in the morning I promise. People here care about you and your family.
Sleep well my friend.


I’m going to avoid hijacking this thread - especially since Rick is mounting a support campaign. But I will say that if you want to talk more about PayPal, Leaper, I’d be happy to (elsewhere I mean). That site you posted made me laugh. I read all 6 of their points on the main page and found them completely ridiculous. PayPal has hidden terms and conditions buried in their contract? Jeepers, you should see some of the EULA’s I casually accept. I have similar witty repartees for all of the rest of the points, but basically let’s just agree to disagree. I have had nothing but good experiences with PayPal, some people have. C’est la vie.

Again, so sorry for all this hassle** RyJae**. And sorry for briefly jumping your thread.

I also wonder how a bank accepts a check where the words “five hundred dollars” have been changed to “five thousand dollars”?

This $5000 fraud is only the fault of the person that altered the check. The way everybody else is handling this, is because nobody likes being burned. I know from incidents I hear about daily, that a few people are always scamming for money. They lie directly to the priest’s face. They stop at every place that may help them and collect from all that will. These same people are doing the exact same thing to the companies you are complaining about.

The bank should have taken action immediately to restore the funds, after you sent them a police report. It is your obligation to help them recover the fraudulent check. by providing information. Had this been an electronic transfer, you would likely never get the money back, because banks legally can get away with assigning all liability for fraudulant electronic transactions to the account holder. I would be sure to get the fees all reversed also. They are screwing you over like all banks will. Remember it is the person you sent the check to, that is at fault though.

The bank is only responsible for $4500 though, because the check was for $500, and they have to correct to their error. You would still have to collect the $500 from the person that scammed you.

This suck’s and I hope things work out better soon.

It’s called check washing

This is not legal advice, but depending on how good the forgery was, I wouldn’t be surprised if the bank that accepted the check is liable to you for any additional costs you incur because of this (such as interest on a cash advance). I’m not sure if your bank would actually have been able to see the check before debiting your account, but ferdamnsure that check was handled by some real live people at the scum’s bank.

As for the electric company, I’d say just politely ask to speak to someone who can override the policy. Phone monkeys are trained to just say no and stick to the rules, but usually you can impress on them that however straitjacketed they are, there must be *someone *in the company who can make a decision in your favor. Until you’ve talked to that person, your question has not been answered. If they run you around on that, I’d say tell them your next call is to the local utility regulator.

This stinks. Hang in there.