Check washing fraud is on the rise and it can cost victims thousands of dollars.
Scammers steal checks out of the mail and use chemicals to erase the ink before filling in their own name and cashing it, emptying the victim’s bank account.
Viewers of Seven On Your Side have fallen victim to this scam, including a woman who wrote a check for $656 to pay off her Amex balance, but by the time it was cashed, it had been altered to $9,000 and made out to a stranger.
Another victim, a newlywed who wrote a check to his contractor, found that the check had been altered and cashed by someone else for $7,500.
To avoid falling prey to check washing fraud, experts recommend using a pen with indelible ink, such as a black gel pen, as it will seep into the check’s fibers, making it harder to wash.
Additionally, mail checks from a post office instead of a standalone mailbox, as thieves can easily fish out the mail.
Always double-check check images for forgery and report any fraud immediately to the USPS.
Victims can recover their money, as Seven On Your Side helped a veteran recover $7,000, and a woman who lost $9,000 was able to get her money back within days.