Protect Yourself From Financial Fraud

Protect Yourself From Financial Fraud by Peter Gordon{2:35 minutes to read} I have a client with cognitive loss who has had difficulty organizing his financial paperwork. One of the projects I’ve been working on for him is re-creating his 2015-2016 taxes. In doing this, I discovered a check he wrote for $15,000 to Wells Fargo. He has no account with Wells Fargo, doesn’t remember writing the check and had no clue as to what the money might be for.

We went to his bank, Capital One, to see if we could find out who deposited the check. Unfortunately, they said there was nothing they could do until the client closed his account and reopened a new one. Once this was done, they would be able to start an investigation.

After we followed their procedure, the bank contacted Wells Fargo, who said they needed a police report. So, we went to the police precinct on the Upper West Side, where my client lives, and proceeded to fill out a police report and speak to a detective. This detective said that 80% of the department’s work is related to financial fraud. It included forged checks, identify theft or credit card fraud.

A huge problem has to do with stolen mail. It is common for postal workers to have their keys stolen, giving criminals access to a variety of sensitive financial information. A client recently received a notice from their real estate management company that the United States Postal Service informed them that a mail bag that was to be delivered to their office was stolen. We had to put a stop payment on the check and re-issue a new one (which was delivered by hand to the office in the building).

With this in mind, the detective said he strongly recommends that people only do electronic transactions—never write a check. This is my suggestion as well, which I talked about in a previous article. Perhaps one day the US will join the rest of the world and phase out checks.

Contact me with questions or comments.

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