Check Fraud At Toys 'R' Us: Not Fun At All

Lee hasn’t shopped at Toys R Us in years, but he bought something there. His bank account did, and didn’t bring him along for the ride. He was the victim of check fraud, with his account number used to make a purchase there. After reporting the fraud and getting his money back, he got a debt collection notice from Toys ‘R’ Us. He straightened that out, and now wonders: what next?

I need the Consumerist hive mind! In late April I saw an odd check post to my checking account from Toys-R-Us. I’ve never written them a check (I hardly write any checks) much less visited a Toys-R-Us in the past 3 years. No check image was provided. So I call my bank who has me sign an affidavit attesting to fraud, and I then contact Toys-R-Us to advise them of the issue.

I tell them I didn’t want to grow up, but I did, and now there is toy fraud. Toys-R-Us gave me a incident number and said 5-8 business days before they would respond. Here’s where it goes sideways. My bank refunds the charge and rejects the check – the check “used” at Toys-R-Us had already been cashed one year prior as payment to an acquaintance of mine.

Three weeks pass and no contact from Toys-R-Us. Then today….NOTICE OF ATTEMPT TO COLLECT DEBT arrives in the mail. WHAT? Toy-R-Us sold the rejected, fraudulent check to a debt collector. Arming myself with Consumerist’s debt collection guide, I call the firm and provide them my story. They agree to drop the debt, and even give me the info from the check image they received – totally different bank, different drivers license number, but same name/account number/address.

I’ve had no other checks/fraud on my account since, and my credit report is clean. What do I do next? Is it as simple as closing out the checking account and starting a new one? What was the original source of this identity theft so I can prevent it? What did they buy at Toys-R-Us, and can I play with it?

That would be a much more fun ending to the story.

If you haven’t already, report this situation to local police (local to you and local to the Toys ‘R’ Us store in question.) Then stop by a physical branch of your bank, if there is one nearby, and speak to an employee there about whether it would be wise to close out this account and start a different one under another number. If it’s not too inconvenient, that’s probably a good idea just in case.