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Check Washing What is It?
And it is increasing at an alarming rate. Using a process known as check washing, mail snatchers erase the ink on a check with chemicals found in common household cleaning products or on the shelves of your local Walmart and then rewrite the checks to themselves, increasing the amount payable by hundreds and even thousands of dollars.
Types of Chemicals Reported Used: Acetone, most widely used, is a highly volatile organic solvent used mainly as a hand-wipe solvent in cleaning applications.
It is also a good drying agent for wet parts. But it will erase most inks from a stolen check without any noticeable effect. Reading the remarks on side of a can of Acetone, you will find out it effectively removes some greases, oils, waxes, and inks.
It is commonly used to remove uncured fiberglass resins, varnish, and lacquer and may be useful for applications that require a highly volatile cleaner. Acetone may be applied by hand wipe or immersion in an unheated tank; Benzene, Bleach, used in ever day cleaning in your home.
Normally to whiten fibers in clothes washing. Carbon Tetrachloride, most widely used in carpet cleaning, Chloromice "T", a mild form of bleach, used normally in the socking of baby diapers, Fox "IT", used mostly with stamp collectors, Clear Correction Fluids, A high-performance eraser to erase everything from ballpoint pen ink, PPC and Diazo copy ink, to typewriter ribbon ink, drafting ink, and printed matter.
One woman became so adept at the technique she prowled the streets with a portable computer, printer and laminating machine in her car, cranking out new identification each time she swiped a batch of bills. Of course she had to take the time to wash the ink from the two vital areas of the check, making sure she doesn't tamper with the written signature.
The problem has grown so severe that many local and federal authorities have formed task forces around the country, with agents from the Postal Inspection Service, U. They offer the following advice to people with old-fashioned mailboxes: Don't leave outgoing mail in an unlocked box.
Take it to work, drop it in a collection box, hand it to a letter carrier or take it directly to the post office. If you have to leave outgoing mail in your box, do it immediately before the letter carrier comes, and don't raise the mailbox flag.
Avoid leaving mail in a box on Sundays and holidays, when letter carriers don't work. Install a lock on your box. This can be done by placing the lock on your mailbox and then cutting a small slit in the mailbox that is large enough to slide mail through, but which is not big enough for a hand to fit in.
In both cases, you will not be able to have outgoing mail picked up. Reported by the Sun-Sentinel on March 18,Postal investigators, working with police in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, busted one of the largest check-washing gangs in South Florida history on March 12, Investigators, the Sun-Sentinel reported, are in the process of arresting people, mostly from Hialeah and Miami Springs.
Arrest warrants were issued for 11 more gang members. All will be charged with at least two state felonies: However, it has been reported that some bad postal workers are getting into the act.
Thieves swipe outgoing checks from mailboxes when they see the red flag up. The bad postal worker removes the check from the "postal bag". According to a local postal inspector, even U.
Postal Service collection boxes can be targeted by thieves who wait until the boxes fill up on weekends and then reach inside to rifle letters. Another problem is when residents leave outgoing mail containing checks in the mailbox before going to work.
The thieves will steal a check in the morning and then cashed the stolen check by the afternoon. Check washing costs banks and merchants "hundreds of thousands of dollars" a year, and ultimately, we, the consumer, pays for that in higher fees or prices.
If the check was in the mail but creditors are hounding you for payment, it may be that some clever mail thieves snagged your check to pay their own debts. Copyright - Times Publishing Co. May 15, A California woman was arrested Wednesday night on charges she pilfered personal checks from mailboxes and altered the checks with chemicals to cash them.
Anita Lucille Okelberry, 35, who is from Oakland but has no local address, faces eight counts each of forgery, uttering a forged instrument and grand theft.
She is accused of stealing checks from mailboxes in Hudson and New Port Richey, washing the ink off with chemicals and filling in her own name and inflated dollar amounts.Finally, screw on the cap.
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