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Lost a signed check for cable bill: What's the worst that could happen?

 
 
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 11:12 am
Yesterday morning I lost an envelope I had which was my payment for my cable bill this month. I'm about 90% sure it was lost on the subway as I was going to work, so that sucker's as good as gone.

But what could happen if someone found that check? Even with my account number and my name, they can't use that information to steal from my bank account, can they? I was thinking I would just forget about it and hope some good samaritan drops it in a mailbox for me (it could happen!), but is there any way the information on a check to the cable company could be put to nefarious purpose?
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Type: Question • Score: 3 • Views: 8,886 • Replies: 6
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Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 11:25 am
@kickycan,
Kicky, why not contact your bank and put a "stop payment" on that cheque, just to make sure, and issue a new one?

Not to scare you, but I have heard that some types are clever enough to be able to erase the ink (on the payee info) and replace it with another name. I think it depends on the type of ink used.

Does your bank offer the type of service where you can pay bills directly from the bank's own ATM? That's probably the safest, convenient way, rather than relying on cheques.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 11:28 am
@kickycan,
Your name and account number aren't really private. People write checks all the time. Checks pass through any number of hands before they get back to your bank.

So there's not much additional danger in losing a check. Put a stop payment on it, and write a new check.


One thing you need to keep track of, though, is the deposit slips that often come with checkbooks. A common scam is to use those to make a deposit with cash back. Then the deposited check bounces.
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kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 11:36 am
@Reyn,
I am going to switch to paying directly without checks eventually. Actually, I have been meaning to do that for a while, but for some reason I haven't done it. I think it's probably due to some irrational fear of these companies having so much access to all my goodies.

But stopping payment on the check costs $30. I don't think it's a big enough deal that I'd need to worry about doing that. Besides, stopping payment on the check isn't going to stop someone from trying to hack into my account or steal my identity or something like that. I called the bank and they said there was very little chance of someone being able to cash that check for their own purposes, so I just let it go. I think I'm probably covered, I just wanted to see what you all thought.
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 11:45 am
@kickycan,
kickycan wrote:

I am going to switch to paying directly without checks eventually. Actually, I have been meaning to do that for a while, but for some reason I haven't done it. I think it's probably due to some irrational fear of these companies having so much access to all my goodies.

When paying the bill directly from an ATM, the company that you are paying the bill to does not have access to your account. You are in control. It's somewhat similar to paying over the internet, but the ATM system is a closed one, of course.

I believe you are referring to automatic debit from your account. This is where a customer is asked to produce a void cheque in order to set-up the auto debit. I'm not a fan of that option myself.
kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 02:12 pm
@Reyn,
Yes, that was what I was talking about. I didn't know about that ATM payment thing. I'll have to "check" that out.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 03:05 pm
@kickycan,
Your bank has the obligation of verifying the signature against good identification. The worst that could happen is that the check clears and you do not challenge the charge in a timely manner. Keep an eye on your bank statements, and periodically check your online statement, if you can do that. I assume you can. If that check shows up, in any amount, talk to your bank immediately.
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