ID theft and check cashing fraud

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madbrain
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ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by madbrain » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:26 am

On December 19, after leaving his locker unlocked at the gym for 10 minutes while taking a shower, my husband had his pants stolen, including car keys, wallet, ID, 2 credit cards, one debit card, and a pricey smart phone.

The gym employee called me to let me know, and I showed up within 30 minutes with a new pair of pants and the spare car key.

The car was not stolen, fortunately. But before we had the chance to report any of the cards stolen, the thief had charged $600 on each of the credit cards, as well as $600 on the debit card. SJPD wouldn't show up for this type of theft - they told us to file a police report online, which we did.

We replaced his pricey cell phone. I rekeyed our 22 locks at home (glad I have smartkey locks!) since home keys were stolen too. He replaced his missing ID after a long line at the DMV. The fraudulent credit card charges were instantly reversed. The debit card was harder. The thief actually managed to overdraw the account by pumping gas - there was only $15 left in the bank account after the first transaction, but he still managed to pump $44 worth of gas and the bank let it go to negative $29. Pumps only authorize $1 when you start on debit cards, apparently. We finally got the fraudulent debit card transactions reversed this tuesday and the account back in the black. We thought this was all behind us except for replacing the missing car keys yet. That is a $300 expense including new transmitter and programming. The car is electric and is always parked in the garage when at home in order to charge - never outside, so less of a concern for theft.

Fast forward to today - he found 2 transactions on his savings account at another bank -at a different institution than any of the 3 stolen cards that were in his wallet. One for negative $2964.67 for "cashed check returned" and another $12 for "cashed check returned fee". Of course, my husband never went to the bank to cash any check. The thief must have written a bad check to my husband's name, used the stolen ID, and gone to the bank to cash that check, unbeknownst to anyone else. Apparently the check was cashed 12/28 and returned Jan 2, but we only learned about it when consulting the account online. Bank is not open yet and he hasn't called. My husband will go to the bank when it opens with a copy of the police report, which lists his ID among the stolen items. I hope that will take care of it and the charge will be reversed. The savings account is now overdrawn by almost the full amount of the fraudulent check. Clearly the bank was negligent in not checking the identity of the check casher. As we are new to ID theft, I'm wondering what else we can and should do to stop the thief from doing further damage, and, ultimately get him caught.

We also have evidence that the thief has also called many other banks where my husband has credit cards, and tried to order new cards or contact customer service by impersonating him over the phone. We know this only from emails from the banks requesting surveys about previous customer service contact. So the thief probably has his voice on record at these banks too.
At least credit card laws are pretty clear with fraud. My husband could close all his credit card accounts as a fraud precaution, but his credit would take a huge hit if he did. Maybe he needs to put fraud alerts ? But how would this help anything ?

Does this fraud need another police report ? Is there another place to report it besides the local police and the bank ?
If brick & mortar banks are this negligent with cashing checks, is my husband's only choice to close every single account he has at brick & mortar bank ? At least online banks don't do check cashing so this risk doesn't exist with them.

This is not exactly the start to the new year that we expected.

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JoMoney
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by JoMoney » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:03 am

I had my ID stolen after a credit card was stolen in the mail. That card got shut off the first time they tried to use it, but subsequently I had several other issues from what I suspect was the the same thief (transactions all happened in the same region of the country, an area I've never been too).
They managed to open accounts with a mobile phone company and get several smart phones, and department store credit accounts.
I didn't find out about these other accounts until they went to collections and I started getting phone calls from a collection agency (that was quite boorish and I initially thought a scam). Anyways.. after checking my credit report I saw all these accounts I never signed up for and had to go through the process of reporting the fraud. Some of them sent me an affidavit I had to sign and return, some of them required a I file a police report. In my case, the police added all the incidents to a single report/case number.
It doesn't take the place of a police report but you can also go to https://identitytheft.gov/ and get advice/report to the FTC.
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham

denovo
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by denovo » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:44 am

Does the gym have a surveillance system? Not sure how big the gym is and how many regular members they have,but couldn't they check the relevant time intervals to see anyone coming in and out of the entryways they don't recognize?

I would go to the police station and tell them how things have gotten worse and ask them to assign an investigator.
Fast forward to today - he found 2 transactions on his savings account at another bank -at a different institution than any of the 3 stolen cards that were in his wallet. One for negative $2964.67 for "cashed check returned" and another $12 for "cashed check returned fee". Of course, my husband never went to the bank to cash any check. The thief must have written a bad check to my husband's name, used the stolen ID, and gone to the bank to cash that check, unbeknownst to anyone else. Apparently the check was cashed 12/28 and returned Jan 2, but we only learned about it when consulting the account online.
Is this a typo? I've never heard of savings accounts having checks :confused . How did they find out about this account?
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

Cigarman
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by Cigarman » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:20 am

My bank (PNC) no longer has counter checks but I can simply fill out a withdrawal slip to get funds from my account...this may have been how they accessed the savings account or used a counter check.

If you haven't done so, do a credit freeze on all three bureau's. Takes less than 30 minutes to institute and prevents any further accounts from being opened.

Yes, you should probably close all the accounts and open a new one. Sorry for your troubles.

LifeIsGood
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by LifeIsGood » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:32 am

He needs to put a Credit Freeze on all 3 credit reporting bureaus If he hasn't already done so. This will prevent some problems going forward.

cas
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by cas » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:17 am

I'm sorry for your troubles.

If you have not read it already, you may find the Boglehead's wiki article "Credit Freeze" useful: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Credit_freeze

Whoever did this seems to be rather knowledgeable about exactly what to do with each piece of information, plus possibly be linked into a network who all got busy using the information. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they also know how to go on the internet and buy your social security numbers/additional info, so that they can do even more damage. So: credit freeze.

madbrain
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by madbrain » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:19 am

denovo wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:44 am
Does the gym have a surveillance system? Not sure how big the gym is and how many regular members they have,but couldn't they check the relevant time intervals to see anyone coming in and out of the entryways they don't recognize?
They do, but they told me they would only release the video to the police if there was an investigation.
I would go to the police station and tell them how things have gotten worse and ask them to assign an investigator.
Will do.
Fast forward to today - he found 2 transactions on his savings account at another bank -at a different institution than any of the 3 stolen cards that were in his wallet. One for negative $2964.67 for "cashed check returned" and another $12 for "cashed check returned fee". Of course, my husband never went to the bank to cash any check. The thief must have written a bad check to my husband's name, used the stolen ID, and gone to the bank to cash that check, unbeknownst to anyone else. Apparently the check was cashed 12/28 and returned Jan 2, but we only learned about it when consulting the account online.
Is this a typo? I've never heard of savings accounts having checks :confused . How did they find out about this account?
Not a typo. The savings account doesn't have checks. I have no idea how the thief found out about the existence of the savings account. He actually might not have known about it at all. All he cared about was cashing the bad check. A bank will usually allow you to cash a check if you are a customer - ie. if you have any account with them (checking, savings, etc) as long as you go to the bank in person. You don't have to deposit the check in your account, you can cash it instead if you are the bank's customer. All you have to do it show your ID. The bank is supposed to verify your identity before they hand out the cash, of course.

The thief likely used the stolen ID to cash the bad check. And when the bank figured out several days later that it was actually a bad check that came back returned, they debited my husband's savings - the only account he had at that bank - because his stolen ID was used to cash the check. If my husband had had a checking account at that bank instead, they would probably have debited that one instead.

This was an inactive savings account with $500 in it and not a single transaction for 8 months. My husband had never cashed a check in any amount at that institution. This was a large national bank. I have no idea which branch the thief went to, or when. I'm hoping the bank had some sort of security camera for the time of that check cashing, which would show that someone else came in to cash the check with the stolen ID.
Last edited by madbrain on Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

madbrain
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by madbrain » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:20 am

LifeIsGood wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:32 am
He needs to put a Credit Freeze on all 3 credit reporting bureaus If he hasn't already done so. This will prevent some problems going forward.
Yes, I'm aware of that possibility for credit accounts, but what about the scam with deposit accounts that he was a victim of ? How do you prevent that besides closing all your deposit accounts at every bank ?

madbrain
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by madbrain » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:22 am

cas wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:17 am
I'm sorry for your troubles.

If you have not read it already, you may find the Boglehead's wiki article "Credit Freeze" useful: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Credit_freeze

Whoever did this seems to be rather knowledgeable about exactly what to do with each piece of information, plus possibly be linked into a network who all got busy using the information. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they also know how to go on the internet and buy your social security numbers/additional info, so that they can do even more damage. So: credit freeze.
Agree. This is likely a professional scammer/thief. The employee at the gym told us that this type of theft was very common, and sometimes the thiefs just break the (customer-owned) locks. In this case my husband made a mistake not locking it the one type. He has gone to the same gym for years every day and nothing like that ever happened to him. I'm not a member of the gym as I'm just too lazy :)

cherijoh
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by cherijoh » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:32 am

madbrain wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:26 am
Fast forward to today - he found 2 transactions on his savings account at another bank -at a different institution than any of the 3 stolen cards that were in his wallet. One for negative $2964.67 for "cashed check returned" and another $12 for "cashed check returned fee". Of course, my husband never went to the bank to cash any check. The thief must have written a bad check to my husband's name, used the stolen ID, and gone to the bank to cash that check, unbeknownst to anyone else. Apparently the check was cashed 12/28 and returned Jan 2, but we only learned about it when consulting the account online. Bank is not open yet and he hasn't called. My husband will go to the bank when it opens with a copy of the police report, which lists his ID among the stolen items. I hope that will take care of it and the charge will be reversed. The savings account is now overdrawn by almost the full amount of the fraudulent check. Clearly the bank was negligent in not checking the identity of the check casher. As we are new to ID theft, I'm wondering what else we can and should do to stop the thief from doing further damage, and, ultimately get him caught.

We also have evidence that the thief has also called many other banks where my husband has credit cards, and tried to order new cards or contact customer service by impersonating him over the phone. We know this only from emails from the banks requesting surveys about previous customer service contact. So the thief probably has his voice on record at these banks too.
At least credit card laws are pretty clear with fraud. My husband could close all his credit card accounts as a fraud precaution, but his credit would take a huge hit if he did. Maybe he needs to put fraud alerts ? But how would this help anything ?

Does this fraud need another police report ? Is there another place to report it besides the local police and the bank ?
If brick & mortar banks are this negligent with cashing checks, is my husband's only choice to close every single account he has at brick & mortar bank ? At least online banks don't do check cashing so this risk doesn't exist with them.

This is not exactly the start to the new year that we expected.
I'm sorry for your troubles - indeed not the way to start the new year.

However, I do not understand how the thief knew the account number at a totally seperate bank unless there was something in his wallet (an ATM card?) that your husband forgot about. Or did he have all his account information on his phone? Could they have hacked that?

With respect to credit cards, if you close an account due to fraud and then open a new account with the same bank, your history on the old card (payments, length of relationship, etc.) will stay with your husbands credit record. The only way to take a hit is from the fraudulent activity (which you can dispute) or if he doesn't replace the card at all.

likegarden
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by likegarden » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:34 am

Going forward, I would reduce the number of credit cards and banks to make it simpler when this happens again. I also have frozen my accounts at 5 credit bureaus. Though I just found a charge on my only credit card which seems to be fraudulent. My wife has a separate credit card which we can use for the next days. It is important to review accounts every 2 weeks or so to check for fraud.
Good luck!

madbrain
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by madbrain » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:41 am

cherijoh wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:32 am
However, I do not understand how the thief knew the account number at a totally seperate bank unless there was something in his wallet (an ATM card?) that your husband forgot about. Or did he have all his account information on his phone? Could they have hacked that?
No, the ATM card for the savings was at home and still is. No financial information was on his phone, so they couldn't have hacked that .

To cash a check, the thief did not need to know any account number. He just needed to find any brick & mortar bank that my husband had an account at, and present the ID to cash the check. Since the check gets cashed and not deposited, the thief does not need the account number.

I'm not sure exactly how the thief found out where my husband banks. He might have just walked into multiple banks . Or maybe he called banks ahead of time to "check his balance" in order to find out which one my husband was a customer of.

cas
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by cas » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:46 am

I've never used it, so I don't know how useful it is, but the FTC has a whole website dedicated to helping people "report and recover from" identity theft: https://www.identitytheft.gov/

westrichj312
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by westrichj312 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:54 am

This happens a few thousand times a day in the USA. If you think you are going to ask the local police department to assign an investigator to something this small you are mistaken.

investordoc
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by investordoc » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:00 am

OP,
Have you thought of using the tracking feature on the phone (if there is one on his model) and give that info to the police. Do not try to hunt it down yourself. Also on the iphone there is a feature where you can remotely wipe all info on the phone. Have you done that yet?
Sorry for all your troubles
It is what it is until it isn't anymore

cherijoh
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by cherijoh » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:05 am

madbrain wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:41 am
cherijoh wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:32 am
However, I do not understand how the thief knew the account number at a totally seperate bank unless there was something in his wallet (an ATM card?) that your husband forgot about. Or did he have all his account information on his phone? Could they have hacked that?
No, the ATM card for the savings was at home and still is. No financial information was on his phone, so they couldn't have hacked that .

To cash a check, the thief did not need to know any account number. He just needed to find any brick & mortar bank that my husband had an account at, and present the ID to cash the check. Since the check gets cashed and not deposited, the thief does not need the account number.

I'm not sure exactly how the thief found out where my husband banks. He might have just walked into multiple banks . Or maybe he called banks ahead of time to "check his balance" in order to find out which one my husband was a customer of.
You have a negligent bank then. To cash any checks at my credit union and my back-up bank you have to provide them with your account number or swipe your ATM card and enter the pin before you can do any kind of transaction.

madbrain
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by madbrain » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:16 pm

cherijoh wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:05 am
You have a negligent bank then. To cash any checks at my credit union and my back-up bank you have to provide them with your account number or swipe your ATM card and enter the pin before you can do any kind of transaction.
Good to know. The bank is Chase. By default, Chase does not issue an ATM card at all if you only have a savings account. He had requested one (which was left at home) for convenience, but otherwise, the normal way to do operations when you don't have a Chase ATM card is to show your ID at the bank. The bank still allows you to make transactions in person by presenting your ID even if you have an ATM card issued and leave it at home.

madbrain
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by madbrain » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:17 pm

investordoc wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:00 am
OP,
Have you thought of using the tracking feature on the phone (if there is one on his model) and give that info to the police. Do not try to hunt it down yourself. Also on the iphone there is a feature where you can remotely wipe all info on the phone. Have you done that yet?
Sorry for all your troubles
No, but the phone was encrypted and protected with a strong password and fingerprints. And there was no financial information on it whatsoever.

madbrain
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by madbrain » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:19 pm

westrichj312 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:54 am
This happens a few thousand times a day in the USA. If you think you are going to ask the local police department to assign an investigator to something this small you are mistaken.
At which point and in which amount does it become worthy of investigation, in your estimation, and who should make that determination ? SJPD said they would have come for car theft, without even asking about the vehicle's value. If the thief keeps it up, the damage could start approaching the cost of a car. The thief already made out with at least $5K so far - $2K from the stolen bank cards, $3K from this check cashing scam.

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dm200
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by dm200 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:34 pm

I regularly use a public gym and almost always shower there after exercise. Over the years, I continue to be amazed how many guys leave valuables in unlocked gym lockers - and valuables are stolen. I do admit that I have occasionally left my clothes and wallet, etc. in an unlocked locker when taking a very quick shower within the sightline of the locker. When actually changing into gym clothes and exercising away from locker room, I always put a combination lock on the locker with my clothes. Guess I will now put a lock there later this afternoon if I take a quick shower - even in sight of the locker with clothes.

I KNOW that if that happened to me, my wife would give me such hell that I would NEVER do it again :)

mhalley
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by mhalley » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:36 pm

I used to lock my wallet etc in the locker at the gym but my new gym does not have lockers. So what I did was get sweat pants and gym shorts with zippered pockets to minimize the possibility of stuff falling out during my exertions.

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dm200
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by dm200 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:06 pm

mhalley wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:36 pm
I used to lock my wallet etc in the locker at the gym but my new gym does not have lockers. So what I did was get sweat pants and gym shorts with zippered pockets to minimize the possibility of stuff falling out during my exertions.
Wow - having "lockers" seems like a very "basic" feature of almost any gym..

One feature that is very important to me of any gym is the ability to go there in regular clothes, change to exercise clothes (with reasonable safekeeping of such clothes), and shower facilities so that I can dress back into regular clothes,

veggivet
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by veggivet » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:07 pm

The bank will definitely have the perpetrator on their security camera, and likely on several, as he walked in, went to the teller, and then walked out. That would be where I would start. If the police don't respond, hire a private investigator. It'll be well worth it. FWIW, I never bring my wallet into any gym I go to. It stays behind in my locked car in the locked glove compartment. The keys to the car stay on my person while I work out, and I never shower at the gym....I know, TMI!

fposte
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by fposte » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:09 pm

madbrain wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:19 pm
westrichj312 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:54 am
This happens a few thousand times a day in the USA. If you think you are going to ask the local police department to assign an investigator to something this small you are mistaken.
At which point and in which amount does it become worthy of investigation, in your estimation, and who should make that determination ? SJPD said they would have come for car theft, without even asking about the vehicle's value. If the thief keeps it up, the damage could start approaching the cost of a car. The thief already made out with at least $5K so far - $2K from the stolen bank cards, $3K from this check cashing scam.
I suspect it's less the worth of the loss than the complexity and cost of its pursuit--in other words, the ROI of an investigation.

veggivet
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by veggivet » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:11 pm

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the police were civil servants, whose sworn duty it is to enforce the law. I don't recall any mention of ROI in their job description.

madbrain
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by madbrain » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:17 pm

veggivet wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:11 pm
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the police were civil servants, whose sworn duty it is to enforce the law. I don't recall any mention of ROI in their job description.
Exactly. And how would you even calculate ROI ? For who ? Clearly society would be better off with the guy in jail. What price can you put on that ?

Jeep512
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by Jeep512 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:20 pm

veggivet wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:07 pm
The bank will definitely have the perpetrator on their security camera, and likely on several, as he walked in, went to the teller, and then walked out. That would be where I would start. If the police don't respond, hire a private investigator. It'll be well worth it. FWIW, I never bring my wallet into any gym I go to. It stays behind in my locked car in the locked glove compartment. The keys to the car stay on my person while I work out, and I never shower at the gym....I know, TMI!
Just FYI - in my area, thieves are watching the parking lots of gyms, yoga studios, etc.

While the people are working out inside, they are stealing purses, etc from the vehicle.

DippityDoo
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by DippityDoo » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:26 pm

madbrain wrote: At which point and in which amount does it become worthy of investigation, in your estimation, and who should make that determination ?
Sorry to hear about your troubles! I went through identity theft a few years ago. I didn't find law enforcement very helpful. My take-away was that identity theft is a crime that pays because no one has much interest in pursuing the thief. What did help was working with an identity theft resolution firm. I was fortunate that my bank offered it as a perk to customers. Some homeowners policies cover the cost of identity theft resolution services. Have you checked your policy to see if you have that benefit?

I hate to give you something else to worry about, but we are entering tax season. Even if your husband didn't have his social security number in his wallet, you may want to consider notifying the IRS that you have been the victim of identity theft. There's a form on their web site you can download. If approved, you can file taxes with a PIN number and the thief won't be able to get a refund using your husband's SSN. I file my taxes with a PIN and it isn't difficult. Please talk to your tax prep person, if you have one, about whether you should proactively notify the IRS.

Best wishes for a quick resolution to your difficulties!

madbrain
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by madbrain » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:28 pm

Jeep512 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:20 pm
Just FYI - in my area, thieves are watching the parking lots of gyms, yoga studios, etc.

While the people are working out inside, they are stealing purses, etc from the vehicle.
You just can't win !

Seems like these businesses need to have better security or lose membership.

In this case, the gym was 24-hour fitness. It was a 2-year prepaid membership through Costco. There is not even the recourse to cancel to get a refund.

At what point if any do these businesses ever become liable for those thefts if their security is negligent ?

quantAndHold
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by quantAndHold » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:30 pm

veggivet wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:07 pm
The bank will definitely have the perpetrator on their security camera, and likely on several, as he walked in, went to the teller, and then walked out. That would be where I would start. If the police don't respond, hire a private investigator. It'll be well worth it.
No bank or gym is going to give their security camera footage to a random citizen or private investigator without a subpoena. OP needs to get law enforcement off their rear ends.

madbrain
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by madbrain » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:33 pm

DippityDoo wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:26 pm
Sorry to hear about your troubles! I went through identity theft a few years ago. I didn't find law enforcement very helpful. My take-away was that identity theft is a crime that pays because no one has much interest in pursuing the thief. What did help was working with an identity theft resolution firm. I was fortunate that my bank offered it as a perk to customers. Some homeowners policies cover the cost of identity theft resolution services. Have you checked your policy to see if you have that benefit?
My homeowner's policy doesn't include that benefit.
Which bank was it that offered the ID theft resolution firm perk to you ?
I hate to give you something else to worry about, but we are entering tax season. Even if your husband didn't have his social security number in his wallet, you may want to consider notifying the IRS that you have been the victim of identity theft. There's a form on their web site you can download. If approved, you can file taxes with a PIN number and the thief won't be able to get a refund using your husband's SSN. I file my taxes with a PIN and it isn't difficult. Please talk to your tax prep person, if you have one, about whether you should proactively notify the IRS.

Best wishes for a quick resolution to your difficulties!

I'm the tax person. The SSN wasn't in his wallet. We file taxes jointly. I will look into the PIN. So far Turbotax always asks me for the prior year data when e-filing. I suppose that's something the thief could get their hands on too from the IRS somehow.

Yankuba
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by Yankuba » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:33 pm

What a depressing thread. The thief sounds like a real pro, which means there could be more nasty surprises in the future.

It couldn't hurt to sign up to LifeLock - if the fraud continues they may assign someone to your case to help clean things up. But since the theft already happened and the thief is making mischief, I'm not sure if LifeLock will take you as a customer.

Definitely freeze your credit and close all active accounts and reopen them elsewhere. Use two factor authorization for the e-mail and financial accounts and set up alerts with the credit card companies and financial institutions to get notified on every transaction/trade.

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dm200
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by dm200 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:34 pm

Jeep512 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:20 pm
veggivet wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:07 pm
The bank will definitely have the perpetrator on their security camera, and likely on several, as he walked in, went to the teller, and then walked out. That would be where I would start. If the police don't respond, hire a private investigator. It'll be well worth it. FWIW, I never bring my wallet into any gym I go to. It stays behind in my locked car in the locked glove compartment. The keys to the car stay on my person while I work out, and I never shower at the gym....I know, TMI!
Just FYI - in my area, thieves are watching the parking lots of gyms, yoga studios, etc.
While the people are working out inside, they are stealing purses, etc from the vehicle.
Yep! Dilemma - leave valuables in car and risk being stolen vs. locking in a gym locker and locker broken into. I have been fortunate that neither has happened to me while at the gym.

Yankuba
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by Yankuba » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:34 pm

DippityDoo wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:26 pm
madbrain wrote: At which point and in which amount does it become worthy of investigation, in your estimation, and who should make that determination ?
Sorry to hear about your troubles! I went through identity theft a few years ago. I didn't find law enforcement very helpful. My take-away was that identity theft is a crime that pays because no one has much interest in pursuing the thief. What did help was working with an identity theft resolution firm. I was fortunate that my bank offered it as a perk to customers. Some homeowners policies cover the cost of identity theft resolution services. Have you checked your policy to see if you have that benefit?

I hate to give you something else to worry about, but we are entering tax season. Even if your husband didn't have his social security number in his wallet, you may want to consider notifying the IRS that you have been the victim of identity theft. There's a form on their web site you can download. If approved, you can file taxes with a PIN number and the thief won't be able to get a refund using your husband's SSN. I file my taxes with a PIN and it isn't difficult. Please talk to your tax prep person, if you have one, about whether you should proactively notify the IRS.

Best wishes for a quick resolution to your difficulties!
+1

Get the IRS pin ASAP

madbrain
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by madbrain » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:35 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:30 pm
veggivet wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:07 pm
The bank will definitely have the perpetrator on their security camera, and likely on several, as he walked in, went to the teller, and then walked out. That would be where I would start. If the police don't respond, hire a private investigator. It'll be well worth it.
No bank or gym is going to give their security camera footage to a random citizen or private investigator without a subpoena. OP needs to get law enforcement off their rear ends.
That's what the gym had told me indeed. Don't know yet about the bank.

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dm200
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by dm200 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:37 pm

madbrain wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:28 pm
Jeep512 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:20 pm
Just FYI - in my area, thieves are watching the parking lots of gyms, yoga studios, etc.
While the people are working out inside, they are stealing purses, etc from the vehicle.
You just can't win !
Seems like these businesses need to have better security or lose membership.
In this case, the gym was 24-hour fitness. It was a 2-year prepaid membership through Costco. There is not even the recourse to cancel to get a refund.
At what point if any do these businesses ever become liable for those thefts if their security is negligent ?
All these places have signs warning to lock valuables and they have no responsibilities if things stolen.

Frankly, I would regard someone leaving valuables unlocked in a fairly public access locker room as "negligent".

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dm200
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by dm200 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:38 pm

hat's what the gym had told me indeed. Don't know yet about the bank.

From the narrative, the bank had a responsibility of verifying identity before cashing the check.

madbrain
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by madbrain » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:40 pm

Seems like IRS PIN is no longer an option :

https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-frau ... -ip-pin#q2
Q5: I’m a victim of identity theft. Can I get an IP PIN?

A5: You'll get an IP PIN if you meet one of the following criteria as a victim of tax-related identity theft:

You received an IP PIN last year, or
You received a CP01A notice, or
You received an IRS letter or notice inviting you to opt-in to get an IP PIN, or
You can opt-in if you filed your last tax return as a resident of Florida, Georgia or the District of Columbia.
None of these apply to us.

madbrain
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by madbrain » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:41 pm

dm200 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:38 pm
hat's what the gym had told me indeed. Don't know yet about the bank.

From the narrative, the bank had a responsibility of verifying identity before cashing the check.
I would certainly think so. They clearly got duped ! Husband is not awake yet, maybe he needs a good kick in the butt too and get on it.

madbrain
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by madbrain » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:43 pm

dm200 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:37 pm
madbrain wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:28 pm
Jeep512 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:20 pm
Just FYI - in my area, thieves are watching the parking lots of gyms, yoga studios, etc.
While the people are working out inside, they are stealing purses, etc from the vehicle.
You just can't win !
Seems like these businesses need to have better security or lose membership.
In this case, the gym was 24-hour fitness. It was a 2-year prepaid membership through Costco. There is not even the recourse to cancel to get a refund.
At what point if any do these businesses ever become liable for those thefts if their security is negligent ?
All these places have signs warning to lock valuables and they have no responsibilities if things stolen.

Frankly, I would regard someone leaving valuables unlocked in a fairly public access locker room as "negligent".
Yes, it was a one-time momentary lapse. He usually leaves things locked, just forgot this one time for a very brief period, and it cost him dearly.

However, the gym employee said many lockers get broken into as well (as in, locks get picked), and the gym doesn't investigate any of those thefts themselves either - they only provide security video to the police when requested. The cameras are outside the lockers only, of course, not inside.

curmudgeon
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by curmudgeon » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:51 pm

madbrain wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:28 pm
Jeep512 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:20 pm
Just FYI - in my area, thieves are watching the parking lots of gyms, yoga studios, etc.

While the people are working out inside, they are stealing purses, etc from the vehicle.
Seems like these businesses need to have better security or lose membership.

In this case, the gym was 24-hour fitness. It was a 2-year prepaid membership through Costco. There is not even the recourse to cancel to get a refund.
That's the 24-hour fitness with large brightly colored signs posted around the locker room warning of theft problems... Gyms are a huge target for this stuff, both locker rooms and parking lots, and security can only go so far.

I don't take my wallet to the gym. I have a little folder with a paper copy of my driver's license (not truly sufficient for a traffic stop, but a cop here will look it up on his computer anyway) and one credit card that I take when I go (I don't try to fit the gym with other stops). I do take my phone, but that's one of the reasons why I don't have expensive phones.

DippityDoo
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by DippityDoo » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:40 pm

madbrain wrote: Seems like IRS PIN is no longer an option
If you wish, you can notify the IRS that you have been victimized by identity theft. You can use this form by selecting option 2 under section B.

The bottom of page 2 gives mailing address/fax info if option 2, section B is selected. I'm positive the IRS can issue a PIN if appropriate or send a letter with an offer to opt-in for a PIN. If I were in your shoes, I would make note on the form that you appear to be dealing with an experienced thief and would like a PIN to protect your tax account. I also wouldn't delay in sending the form, if you hope to get a PIN, because I believe they are sent in January.

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Pajamas
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by Pajamas » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:42 pm

I don't think you have to close the credit card accounts. The bank will simply re-issue cards with a different account number.

You should talk to the banks where other accounts are held about what you should do. Can't they place some kind of fraud alert so that counter checks and similar are not accepted?

Sounds like the thief was good at it, not an inexperienced amateur taking advantage of a random opportunity to snag a credit card. I would expect more problems in the future, such as full-blown identity theft with accounts being opened elsewhere.

He should definitely freeze his credit and check credit reports frequently. Might also want to set up a Google news alert to notify him of his name, Social Security number, and other demographic information being posted on the internet.

https://www.google.com/alerts

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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by fposte » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:51 pm

veggivet wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:11 pm
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the police were civil servants, whose sworn duty it is to enforce the law. I don't recall any mention of ROI in their job description.
There's nothing in their job description that says they have to visit the home of everybody who reports a crime, either. The OP isn't being refused a police report; the cops are merely declining to investigate, which is something they do all the time.

Look, I'm not saying it's delightful--I had a similar identity theft situation--but the question got asked about what made it worthy of investigation, and in my view ROI is the answer. A stolen car is something the cops know how to deal with, if not to reliably recover. Complicated financial malfeasance isn't really a beat cop kind of thing, and the cops whose thing it is may have a lot higher financial threshold. You can always go back and press the issue; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by madbrain » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:06 pm

fposte wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:51 pm
veggivet wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:11 pm
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the police were civil servants, whose sworn duty it is to enforce the law. I don't recall any mention of ROI in their job description.
There's nothing in their job description that says they have to visit the home of everybody who reports a crime, either. The OP isn't being refused a police report; the cops are merely declining to investigate, which is something they do all the time.
Actually they told us to file the police report ourselves online. Which we did. But I think this is less than helpful.
Look, I'm not saying it's delightful--I had a similar identity theft situation--but the question got asked about what made it worthy of investigation, and in my view ROI is the answer. A stolen car is something the cops know how to deal with, if not to reliably recover. Complicated financial malfeasance isn't really a beat cop kind of thing, and the cops whose thing it is may have a lot higher financial threshold. You can always go back and press the issue; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
I can accept that your average local cop doesn't know how to deal with financial malfeasance, but surely there must be some kind of other government organization that specializes in this and can and will help. And if there really isn't, there should be !

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dm200
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by dm200 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:14 pm

There would be some "issues" with security cameras in locker/shower rooms.

Wakefield1
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by Wakefield1 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:15 pm

It is likely that other members of that gym have had locker theft or breakin problems.
There is something wrong if the gym will not cooperate with the victim as to the fact that they had surveillance video but will not act on it.
Likely the thief checks for lockers that can be robbed from time to time-may even be a member of the gym or be someone who works there or knows someone who works there.

Rupert
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by Rupert » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:16 pm

madbrain wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:06 pm
fposte wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:51 pm
veggivet wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:11 pm
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the police were civil servants, whose sworn duty it is to enforce the law. I don't recall any mention of ROI in their job description.
There's nothing in their job description that says they have to visit the home of everybody who reports a crime, either. The OP isn't being refused a police report; the cops are merely declining to investigate, which is something they do all the time.
Actually they told us to file the police report ourselves online. Which we did. But I think this is less than helpful.
Look, I'm not saying it's delightful--I had a similar identity theft situation--but the question got asked about what made it worthy of investigation, and in my view ROI is the answer. A stolen car is something the cops know how to deal with, if not to reliably recover. Complicated financial malfeasance isn't really a beat cop kind of thing, and the cops whose thing it is may have a lot higher financial threshold. You can always go back and press the issue; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
I can accept that your average local cop doesn't know how to deal with financial malfeasance, but surely there must be some kind of other government organization that specializes in this and can and will help. And if there really isn't, there should be !
You could try contacting your local state prosecutor's office directly. You could even try contacting your local FBI, Secret Service, or US Attorney's office. This would usually be the FBI's area, but Secret Service sometimes investigates identity theft. When my identity was stolen, it was Secret Service that contacted me because my information turned up in a database in a case they were already working. The feds are really the best at investigating these sorts of crimes, which are often multi-jurisdictional (which is why local cops often won't/can't do it). Whether it's a big enough case to attract federal attention may depend on where you live. Smaller crimes draw federal attention more in rural districts. If you're in Manhattan or Miami, no way they'd be interested unless there's a pattern of behavior (multiple victims, huge amounts of money, etc.).

gtd98765
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by gtd98765 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:47 pm

In addition to the credit freeze, I think it would also be worthwhile to file a fraud alert with one of the credit bureaus, which would then share it with the others. Since identify fraud is active, this would see prudent.

fposte
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Re: ID theft and check cashing fraud

Post by fposte » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:04 pm

madbrain wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:06 pm

Actually they told us to file the police report ourselves online. Which we did. But I think this is less than helpful.
Yeah, my theft involved two jurisdictions; one I had to file in person and one I filed on line, and neither felt it worthy of investigation.
I can accept that your average local cop doesn't know how to deal with financial malfeasance, but surely there must be some kind of other government organization that specializes in this and can and will help. And if there really isn't, there should be !
No disagreement; I think we're really underequipped as a country to handle this increasingly prevalent kind of crime. I like Rupert's ideas for looking further right now.

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