Mail Fraud-Learning things the hard way...

I feel like I have been giving personal life examples of what NOT to do (scam-wise) lately. The newest chapter? Mail Fraud. This evening, Nick and I were plopped on the couch watching TV when we had a knock on the door. In something like out of the movies, an officer was standing on our front porch holding up her badge. (I mentally was scanning through all of the bad things I have done recently. I did get a speeding ticket yesterday, but I was very nice and compliant. I maybe did a California stop at the stop sign the other day. Maybe it was the late night bowl of chips that I KNEW I shouldn't have eaten, but I did anyway.) Turns out she had a check that was made out in my name that she had found in a hotel room. I immediately thought of good ol' Idera Nimota and the attempted cashier check scam. Wrong-O! Turns out a woman, Jennifer Kraven, was caught with multiple counts (more like DOZENS) of identity theft, check and mail fraud. A few weeks ago I opened a business account for my "thriving" art business and I never even blinked an eye when I didn't receive any checks. I didn't request any checks, and I didn't really want them. Apparently Jennifer did. She came to our mailbox and stole the checks out of the mailbox (or stole mail to request the checks from the mailbox) and then used those checks to buy cars, etc. The check that the officers found in the hotel room was made out for over $2000, and she said it is probably one of many. Now Nick and I get to track down our bank statements and credit reports and try to fix this.

Please, take a lesson from our mistakes. Watch your mail! Ideally, the officer said, we should all have locking mailboxes or PO Boxes, but we should be aware of what is supposed to be coming to our mailboxes and be on the lookout for it.

Seems to me like checks are just plain BAD NEWS. I have not had a single positive check interaction in the last year. (Except maybe Mom hooking me up with some "just for fun" or "I love you" money in a love letter. Come to think of it, she should probably not send that sort of thing in the mail anymore.)

And so it begins.

As a PS, please keep the officer that came by our house in your prayers. She has a baby girl who is almost Hood's same age (born on March 28th), and she is an undercover Policewoman. She was really wonderful and I appreciate her bringing this to our attention before the bank told us about it. Thank you!