It's Probably A Bad Idea To Cash A Check For A Stranger

I bet if some guy approaches you on the street right as you’re about to walk into your bank or credit union and asks you to cash a check for him, you’d say no. That’s a good idea. Apparently at least two people in Madison, Wisconsin thought they were doing a good deed and helped the man out. It turns out that the checks were drawn on a closed bank account in Atlantic City, NJ.

Here’s the police incident report from

He started out thinking he had done a good deed, but as a few hours passed the gut feeling that he had gotten involved in something suspicious grew – to the point where the 21-year old downtown resident knew he had to call police.

He explained it was around 2:30 in the afternoon, Monday, February 8th, when he encountered a man outside of the UW Credit Union on State Street. The man was in a bind said he was from out of town, and needed to cash a check, which he could not do because he was not a member of the UW Credit Union. He offered the passerby $10 if he would go in and cash the $480 personal check.

The young man said he did not want any money, but was willing to do this as a favor. So, he went in, signed his name on the check, and gave the cash to the man outside.

Madison Police, working with a UW Credit Union Fraud investigator, and a Bank of America Corporate Security investigator, determined there were actually two $480 dollar checks cashed at the credit union that day: one by the man who contacted police, another by a second – likely unsuspecting – individual. Both checks were linked to a bank account out of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The account was closed on January 22, 2010 for being overdrawn.

Police incident report [City of Madison] (Thanks to A!)

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