Consumer Alert: Writing a Personal Check as a Tip

By Andy Mehalshick , Jayne Ann Bugda |

Published 05/26 2014 12:25PM

Updated 05/26 2014 12:30PM

  "I was really disappointed that it happened to mea&amp" Maureen Webster still can't believe an identity thief stole thousands of dollars from her, the most frustrating part? "who" The thief Was her newspaper delivery guy

 "In my mind, he was a nice hard working man, never thinking, I never thought twice about tipping a newspaper delivery person with a personal check." She will from now on.

 Maureen added "He decided to make some additional checks that looked like mine and he decided to welcome himself to all of the money in my bank account." But the story didn't end with fraudulent checks.

  "They filed fraudulent tax returns for 2012, they filed fraudulent state income tax returns for 2012, they got into my Fidelity account and tried to take out $10-thousand dollars." How did the delivery guy access all of this information?

 "It amazes me that somehow all this information is in cyber space, with just a name and address he was able to find out all the information."  Maureen was not alone. Postal inspectors say a ring of newspaper delivery guys stole millions of dollars from more than 400 victims.

Ryan Noonan, US Postal Inspector says "Add zeros where they shouldn't be added, cash checks on their accounts and then put in change of address of the people - getting the mail delivered to his house, get bank statements and enter into their bank accounts and engage in account takeovers." After a few months, the suspect was arrested.

 "He wasn't hard to find. He was smart enough to figure out how to write checks out of peoples accounts but he wasn't smart enough to not write his name and address on his; he basically led them right to him." said Maureen
Postal Inspectors want to remind you to check your bank statements to make sure the check amounts match. If you wrote a check for $30, make sure there's not a bank debit of $300 or $3,000 instead. And if you bank online, you can do it a lot more frequently than that once-a-month

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