A Check– Stolen from the Mailbox

A friend just posted on Facebook a warning to her neighbors that someone stole a check she was sending out that day in the mail. My first advice was, tell your bank– a check has the full bank account number printed on it as well as your personal signature. Apparently the bank advised her to close the account stopping honoring her checks at the number before that of the stolen check and switching her funds to a new number. They warned her of the possibility that the thief wouldn’t even try to cash the check but would generate fraudulent checks.

Years ago, another friend found that a stolen check came back to haunt her months after she had closed the account. Apparently the fellow who had razored her handbag straps, took the account number from the checkbook therein and deposited a small amount to re-activate the account. Then he or she used the account, overdrawing it in her name. I hope there are safeties in place now that prevent this kind of happening, but do any of you know?

I am so old fashioned that I still prefer to write a check over using on-line payments, but I will say openly here that I may be stupid in doing so. What do the rest of you think? I’d like to know. We can get hacked and passwords stolen, but a bank account number plus signature happens each time we write a check, and whoever deposits it has access to those two things as well. On-line payments have risk too, but which is the better? I have stopped using debit cards since they appear to have fewer protections than credit cards. Paypal, even while you may deplore some of their behaviors, seems a relatively safe way to go. What do you all advise? What are your experiences with the wide world of fraud and identity theft?

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