Have you ever sent a check that was cashed, but the recipient said it never arrived? According to the United States Postal Inspection Service, you may have been the victim of check washing.
Check washing scams involve a thief obtaining a legitimate check either written by you or for you using public or private mailboxes. Recently, Southeastern, PA, New Jersey and Delaware have been hit by thieves who obtained a United States Post Office (USPS) master key to their blue mailboxes. While some arrests have been made, the number of already stolen checks is not known.
Be prepared and learn the basics about how thieves steal your legitimate check, "wash" it and then present it for payment without you knowing.
Once the checks are obtained, thieves wash the written payee and dollar amounts off the check and then add a new payee and often times inflate the dollar amount. They then deposit the items in accounts at other Banks to obtain access to the funds. Since the signatures on the checks and the checks themselves are often real, banks and bank software have a harder time detecting washed checks.
There are short timeframes under regulation to return a check, so often times the check cannot be returned and you suffer a loss of funds.
Since the signatures on the checks and the checks themselves are often real, banks and bank software have a harder time detecting washed checks. Malvern Bank is providing additional details and information to assist you in protecting your information from check washing.
Common tips to protect yourself from check washing:
If you believe you have been a victim of check washing, please inform us immediately by calling 610.644.9400 or stop into one of our financial centers for assistance.