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The Frustration of Doing “The Right Thing”

on 30 September, 2014

Over the weekend, I noticed some odd transactions in my bank account. Pursuing them further yesterday, I found out that someone was able to steal mail somewhere, somehow and in those were paper checks that had been written to pay bills.

According to the bank, two checks from my bank account were stolen and then “washed” or somehow modified such that the amounts and the payee were changed and they were able to steal $1200 from my checking account. Sigh. This actually had happened last year as well, when Time Warner’s night drop was robbed and the same thing happened with that check. This time they are alleging that it was a mail drop theft… we live very close to a sorting facility that accepts mail. I never leave mail in my mailbox, especially when you have to signal to the world that there is mail to be picked up. The innocence of being able to do that disappeared a long, long time ago.

It is a major ordeal to get this fixed… it requires opening a new account, cancelling the old one and all that comes with it. Accounts setup with autopay and my paycheck with direct deposit. For a few days anyway, I don’t have a debit card – and I live and move through the city with that card.

I’m not too upset, as the bank has taken on most of the responsibilities and redeposited those funds back into my account. Might take a “day or two” to show up, but they will. At least when this happened last year, it did.

Still, the peace of mind and the oblivion that I used to have with taking care of my finances has been shaken. To know that something that people take so for granted – that I take for granted – is a little unsettling. The effortless way that my finances are handled are almost oblivious to me, my paycheck is auto-deposited and monthly expenses are handled with pre-defined payments and for the most part, I am not even confronted with handling much. On occasion, I have an expense that can’t be handled with online payments or PayPal and I am forced to sit down and write a paper check.

And the funniest thing is that I just purchased new checks… 2,000 paper checks that are now worthless. Not a big deal, just a bit ironic.

I will need to stop into the bank this afternoon with a new signature card (includes The Kid now) which is kind of a minor blessing… I had been planning on adding him to the account for some time, this gives me that opportunity. I keep trying to see the good in this situation, but I have to tell you that some days it becomes a difficult exercise.

I mean, the last time it happened, thieves managed to get almost $2000 out of this activity. This time it is $1200. There is no catching these crooks, and to the bank it is hardly even worth the time it takes to fill out a police report. It just irks me that someone who isn’t entitled to that money, have it. And doubtful if they even have to be careful for a single minute, as no one is really looking for them. They are going to have to steal a hell of a lot more than that to get someone who will take the time to investigate it. I’m not sure who else was affected by this – whether or not they were a fellow banker – and I have no idea of the scope of this. Part of me is angry at myself at having left so much cash in the checking account. I’ve been saying for a while that I need to get that money working for me, instead of sitting in a non-interest bearing account.

Well, whatever, I am not responsible for the missing money – I did my due diligence. But it has convinced me that writing paper checks needs to be a thing of my past.



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