Checks Stolen? Maybe Leave The Account Open, Otherwise The Bank Won't Help You With The Hot Checks

Boom: I read your article about BOA and the identity theft today.
Boom: My parents had their check book stolen once. (by my sister but that’s another story)
Boom: They decided to close the account and move the money to another account.
Boom: Banks are usually accountable if they accept fraudulent checks but if the account is closed they are no longer accountable for all the bad written checks. Moral of the story – if you check book is stolen don’t close the account or you will be held accountable for the bad checks.
Boom: It caused my parents tons of money in lawyers to ward off the companies coming after the hot checks
Boom:when the account is closed they no longer accept the checks but the companies who were given the hot checks are still out $$
Benpopken: Isn’t the paper hanger responsible?
Boom: Tell that to companies like Pizza Hut and Papa Johns
Boom: who accepts checks at the door without verifying anything
Boom: they get angry and they sent many letters…

(Photo: Betsssssy)


Boom: well the best thing would have been for my parents to keep the account open
Boom: because the bank would have to make up for the checks being frauds
Benpopken: really? that’s interesting and counter-intuitive. In fact, it goes against everything I’ve ever heard.
Boom: very much so but when explained you can understand how the bank would be hands off when the account is closed
Boom: you lose the help you get from the bank in fraud investigation
Boom: When the account is open the bank would send NSF info to my parents – my parents were able to take that to the court and refute the check was not theirs.
Boom: When the account was closed the bank just refused the info and my parents never got any information to go to the court about the checks
Boom: My parents didn’t know what checks had bounced and who those checks were made out to
Benpopken: so how did you guys stop the check writer? police sting?
Benpopken: when did they find out it was your sister?
Boom: they tracked how and when the checks were written
Boom: found one place where she bought some audio stuff for her car and they met her when she came to pick up the car
Benpopken: they being your parents?
Boom: police
Benpopken: ah
Boom: sadly enough the judge was WAY TOO easy on her – she had problems with drugs, and had written hot checks before
Boom: she spent one night in jail and had to take a class about check writing
Benpopken: proly coulda used a good hard lesson
Boom: and I am sure a good amount of community service
Boom: since then my parents are raising her 2 children
Boom: hard – I am one of 5 children and my parents only had 1 bad one :-p
Boom: goes back to nature or nurture questions
Benpopken: so they really had to use lawyers? they couldn’t just send a letter that said hey, someone stole our checkbook?
Boom: well they sent the first letters by themselves – It must be because of the large amount lost due to the checks
Boom: they were getting hassled and they didn’t want to have credit problems
Benpopken: then the companies said we don’t care, we’re going to sue you?
Boom: my parents worked harder to cut them off at the pass
Boom: got the lawyer involved to show them they were serious about it before there were even more problems happening
Benpopken: ah i see
Boom: smart idea – better safe then sorry if they actually had to go to court the costs would have been 10x
Benpopken: guess so
Benpopken: unfortunate costs, on many fronts
Benpopken: What bank was this?
Boom: it was a credit union
Benpopken: do you remember which credit union?
Boom: shell federal
Boom: but I would bet national chains would be just a hands off with closed accounts
Boom: I think the best thing is to warn people about the possibility
Boom: closing the account may be the best thing in some situations… but people should think about what they are doing before they just close the account – remember that an open account provides bank protection
Benpopken: right, as long as you realize that until the perp is caught, you just have to weather the storm of bounced checks and whatnot
Benpopken: and a month later, the money will be back
Benpopken: in the meantime, take all money out of the account and open a new one
Benpopken: and put your money there
Boom: yeah, that would be best – leave the account open but move the money out
Boom: have the bank reject all checks
Benpopken: and call the cops

Leaving your account open seems rather odd, but apparently it leaves you less open to liability??

So, by this advice, when your checkbook is stolen:

Report the fraudulent activity to the bank.
Ask the bank to freeze your account. Tell them which checks you still have outstanding, so they know to let those pass
Remove all remaining funds, minus the amount for any outstanding checks, and put them in a new account in a new bank.
File a police report.

If you do all this quickly, everything should clear in your favor, eventually. — BEN POPKEN