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Airstud
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What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Wed May 06, 2015 8:23 pm

I was sorting some papers o' mine at the Starbucks in the Sears Tower (which is what it's called I tell you) and nearly left a blank (unsigned) personal check on my table before I half-frantically grabbed it & secured it.

This made me wonder - if that check, i.e. my bank account & routing number, fell into the wrong hands, what sort of malfeasances could actually be committed? The bank won't authorize anything electronically without my PIN or last 4 of my SSN, nor would they honor a withdrawal without that info or photo ID.

I suppose they could print falsified paper checks with it. If such checks went through then one would point the bank's attention to the severe non-matchingness of the signatures to have the funds restored to the account... Or does it get worse than I am imagining?
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rfields5421
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Wed May 06, 2015 10:31 pm

I could setup a on-line payment with the routing number and account number. Pretty easy to set-up an electronic transfer.
Not all who wander are lost.
 
blueflyer
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Wed May 06, 2015 11:10 pm

Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):
If such checks went through then one would point the bank's attention to the severe non-matchingness of the signatures to have the funds restored to the account... Or does it get worse than I am imagining?

Well, banks aren't known for working at warp speed, which means you'll presumably be out of the funds for a little while. On the other hand, they are getting better at catching fraudulent checks though so odds are they'll be intercepted before they hit your account. They use pattern analytics software to detect abnormal behavior and block suspicious checks preemptively.

For example, if a business always have the checks they send out deposited, banks can flag a transaction if someone tries to cash a check instead and hold payment until the authenticity of the check can be confirmed.
 
sccutler
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Thu May 07, 2015 2:04 am

Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):
I suppose they could print falsified paper checks with it.

I've had the thrill of dealing with this. Guy printed up a stack of checks with my firm's account number, and a business name which was similar to my firm's name, and started hangin' paper all over the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area. Good fortune was that we bank with a local bank, very responsive, and they closed it off on a phone call. From that point, every check was hand-cleared, and not a single bad check cleared.

There were quite a few merchants who accepted the forged checks, and they were stuck with 'em. One guy, a convenience store operator kept calling me and asking, "Who's gonna cover this check?," like i had some responsibility to make it good. I finally made him understand why I did not owe him by asking him whether, if I printed up checks with his name and account number on them and negotiated them, he would feel it was right for me to collect the funds. Bad deal.

Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):
If such checks went through then one would point the bank's attention to the severe non-matchingness of the signatures to have the funds restored to the account... Or does it get worse than I am imagining?

It can get a lot worse - depends heavily on who your bank is; some banks will make it very difficult to challenge a check and, in my experience, the larger the bank, the poorer their fraud practices. YMMV.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
blueflyer
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Thu May 07, 2015 4:41 am

Quoting sccutler (Reply 3):
One guy, a convenience store operator kept calling me

These people, and check cashing outfits, are the worst. They will beg, lie, cheat and deceive to collect on checks as bogus as a $3 bill.

Quoting sccutler (Reply 3):
in my experience, the larger the bank, the poorer their fraud practices.

Interestingly, my wife has exactly the opposite experience. Chase was very good at stopping bogus checks before it hit their accounts, Frost not so much. She's using positive pay now and she loves it, but she wouldn't do it if it wasn't automated.
 
Bongodog1964
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Thu May 07, 2015 4:52 am

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 1):

I could setup a on-line payment with the routing number and account number. Pretty easy to set-up an electronic transfer.

Yep, you could, to pay money in, without the password etc you can't draw money out.

The biggest problem I can see is as discussed above the potential to create bogus cheques (checks) The validation of signatures is notoriously lax throughout the financial system, who can recall having their signature even looked at on their credit or debit card ?
 
Airstud
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Thu May 07, 2015 6:04 am

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 5):
who can recall having their signature even looked at on their credit or debit card ?

I don't believe signatures are verified as a matter of course; rather only when a dispute is raised.

Anyway it's all kind of a moot point. That envelope, that I thought I last saw in the Sears Tower Starbucks, and that contained the blank check I "grabbed and secured" (    ) and was frantic about after not finding it after my flight got in last night, turned out to have been on my desk here at work all along.

(It is to go to Carol Stream, Illinois; as does my Discover card payment, which was the actual envelope that I had with me in Chicago; hence the confusion.)

The Discover card was created by Sears so it seemed condign that my ceremonial first-ever payment on the card be mailed from the post office in the Sears Tower.
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Kiwirob
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Thu May 07, 2015 7:09 am

Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):
I was sorting some papers o' mine at the Starbucks in the Sears Tower (which is what it's called I tell you) and nearly left a blank (unsigned) personal check on my table before I half-frantically grabbed it & secured it.

I'm somewhat amazed that people still use cheques. I haven't had a cheque book in 20 or so years, I didn't realise personal cheques still existed.
 
sccutler
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Thu May 07, 2015 11:41 am

Quoting kiwirob (Reply 7):
I'm somewhat amazed that people still use cheques. I haven't had a cheque book in 20 or so years, I didn't realise personal cheques still existed.

I physically write about six a year; three are for property tax payments.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
Kiwirob
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Thu May 07, 2015 1:16 pm

Quoting sccutler (Reply 8):
I physically write about six a year; three are for property tax payments.

Can you use online banking for that?
 
FriscoHeavy
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Thu May 07, 2015 1:39 pm

I still use quite a few checks as well -- Pay the lawn guy as well as other occasional jobs I have done around the house. In addition, I usually write a check to some of my wife's various department store bills. Since it's hit or miss which store she will shop at and when, I don't bother with the online bill pay. I just write a check and drop it in the mail the same day we get the bill. It takes 2 minutes to do.
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travelavnut
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Thu May 07, 2015 2:28 pm

Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):
personal check on my table
Quoting kiwirob (Reply 7):
I'm somewhat amazed that people still use cheques. I haven't had a cheque book in 20 or so years, I didn't realise personal cheques still existed.

Me either! Haven´t used a check in at least 20 years..... I don´t think there even legal tender any more in the Netherlands.

Currently virtually all small transactions are done with iPhone apps of the various banks.
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flipdewaf
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Thu May 07, 2015 3:26 pm

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 5):
The biggest problem I can see is as discussed above the potential to create bogus cheques (checks) The validation of signatures is notoriously lax throughout the financial system, who can recall having their signature even looked at on their credit or debit card ?

I don't think the signatures are that important to the validity of the cheque. I believe they more often check patterns in the way that they are written, date format, joined up or printed writing, certain words/letters upper/lower case etc.

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Tugger
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Thu May 07, 2015 5:17 pm

Quoting kiwirob (Reply 7):
I'm somewhat amazed that people still use cheques. I haven't had a cheque book in 20 or so years, I didn't realise personal cheques still existed.

I like checks for certain things. They are a smart, simple and important tool among many others that people can use.

Quoting kiwirob (Reply 9):
Quoting sccutler (Reply 8):
I physically write about six a year; three are for property tax payments.

Can you use online banking for that?

Sure you can. But sometimes people find it simpler to just write a check and mail it. It is very simple.

For me, I pay my taxes with a check. I also like to use online checking to "push" payments to payees as I will not allow outside entities to "pull" money from my account, i.e. have access to my account.

Tugg
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airportugal310
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Fri May 08, 2015 12:53 am

I think its the funny that the Euro's think they are better than everyone else for not using "cheques" (cute spelling by the way)

I write 12 a year for rent, and I will continue to do so. And I prefer it that way

Quoting Tugger (Reply 13):
I like checks for certain things. They are a smart, simple and important tool among many others that people can use.

Agreed. But the holier than thou crowd needs something to latch onto, as evidenced above
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LAXintl
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Fri May 08, 2015 1:43 am

Like it or not, checks are still huge part of the US financial system.

I actually recently saw a presentation that stated according to the Federal Reserve they make up 1/3 value of financial transactions in US economy.

While I can pay much online, somethings are basically check only. My quarterly taxes, many business vendors, things like gardener, handy man, mortgage, etc.

And I also get paid by check from virtually all my clients. Much of the business world firmly uses checks for handling bills and invoices.

[Edited 2015-05-07 18:46:34]
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mad99
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Fri May 08, 2015 2:01 am

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 15):
mortgage

Why would you not set that as an automatic xfer every month? Why use a cheque ? (serious question)

man, i haven't used a cheque in 20 years
 
TK739ER
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Fri May 08, 2015 4:58 am

Quoting mad99 (Reply 16):

As others stated above, checks are still a big part of US Financial System and they are believe it or not a lot easier and simpler, I know I know we are in cyber age now and everything is online and I'm in IT for living but even for me when I receive a bill, it only takes 20 seconds write one and sign one.

I've made that mistake about 10 years ago setting automatic payments for my mortgage and some other bills, because of a glitch in my employer's system my (and also thousands of others) direct deposits were a couple of days late and hell broke after that, negative bank accounts, overdraft charges etc etc, crap load of problems and headaches.

Checks? Easy, write it sign it tear it, put it in the envelope boom you are done less than 30 seconds, then enjoy your beer, no waiting in front of a computer because their stupid server is not responding.
 
Airstud
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Fri May 08, 2015 5:04 am

Quoting TK739ER (Reply 17):
Checks? Easy, write it sign it tear it, put it in the envelope boom you are done less than 30 seconds, then enjoy your beer, no waiting in front of a computer because their stupid server is not responding.

  

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travelavnut
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Fri May 08, 2015 8:38 am

Quoting airportugal310 (Reply 14):

I think its the funny that the Euro's think they are better than everyone else for not using "cheques" (cute spelling by the way)
Quoting airportugal310 (Reply 14):
Agreed. But the holier than thou crowd needs something to latch onto, as evidenced above

Que?! So because some are amazed that cheques are still being used while in other places they ceased existence decades ago we suddenly think we are better and holier?

Feeling a bit touchy and insecure or something?!

[Edited 2015-05-08 01:41:33]
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travelavnut
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Fri May 08, 2015 8:40 am

Quoting TK739ER (Reply 17):
Checks? Easy, write it sign it tear it, put it in the envelope boom you are done less than 30 seconds, then enjoy your beer, no waiting in front of a computer because their stupid server is not responding.

So how do you pay your checks if you're on holiday or an extended period outside the country? And don't you still have to post the envelope before you can enjoy that beer?  Wink

[Edited 2015-05-08 01:41:13]
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jetmatt777
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Fri May 08, 2015 8:52 am

Checks are a fantastic tool for satisfying payments, while taking advantage of the slower clearing times.

For example, my rent is due the last day of the month. On March 31 my rent was due, but I didn't get paid until April 2. I wrote a check, and hand delivered it to my landlord. My rent was satisfied, and they didn't process my check until April 6.

If I had paid with direct debit, I would have overdrafted my account. But by writing a check, I got paid in the time between me handing them the check, and the time it took them to process and clear my check. It's magic!

I also prefer to write checks for my taxes, and send it in the mail the day it is due. It took the state of Oklahoma 2 weeks to clear my check, and it took the IRS 3 weeks. It was paid on time, but I didn't lose the money until 2-3 weeks after I wrote the check.

Very handy tool to take advantage of slow processing times while satisfying due dates.
 
rfields5421
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Fri May 08, 2015 1:22 pm

I used to write 12 checks every January and give them to the owner of the storage lot where I kept my travel trailer. On the first of each month he would deposit the check for that month.

I didn't have to worry if I was in the area or not to make the payment. He was a small businessman and didn't want to give 4% of his income to a credit card processing company. Checks or cash only.

Though of course - checks in the US are now processed electronically. The merchant can either process the check as an electronic debit from your account. If you write a check for payment at Walmart - it is scanned by the cash register - and your account is charged at that time - then they give the check back to you to dispose of as you wish.

Or when the check hits the regional clearing house - it will be scanned and destroyed. We don't get physical checks back anymore.

Another thing I've done is when I received a refund check from overpayment at a doctor or merchant - I can take a picture of the check with my phone and directly deposit it into my account. Don't have to take the check to the bank any more.
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LAXintl
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Fri May 08, 2015 2:39 pm

Quoting mad99 (Reply 16):
Why would you not set that as an automatic xfer every month? Why use a cheque ? (serious question)

I dont allow anyone to pull money from my accounts. I rather have control and initiate the transaction be it online or via physical check.

Quoting travelavnut (Reply 20):
So how do you pay your checks if you're on holiday or an extended period outside the country?

I travel frequently and its really never been an issue. Bills arrive in the mail often good 3 weeks before they are due so you have plenty of time act.

Also since virtually all are rather predictable, even without a bill you can always either call on the phone or look online to see your balance and act accordingly for payment in timely manner.

[Edited 2015-05-08 08:19:24]
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travelavnut
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Fri May 08, 2015 2:47 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 23):
I dont allow anyone to pull money from my accounts. I rather have control and initiate the transaction be it online or via physical check.

I can get where you're coming from, although I have been using automated transfers for anything from my mortgage, to utilities, insurance and the car-share service and I never had an issue. Seems so much easier than writing cheques, posting them and having the other side process them correctly. Also, and maybe that's different in the US, but if something is incorrectly deducted I can very easily pull it back within a few weeks (although I have never used that in 10+ years).

And for the receiving end, don't they have to manage bounced checks or the ones that are difficult to read? It seems it's quite a bit more susceptible to fraud and mistakes (like the situation in the OP)?
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TK739ER
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Fri May 08, 2015 3:20 pm

Quoting travelavnut (Reply 20):

Well first of all I wish I was on a extended holiday and could afford to leave the country for an extended time, my longest time over the last 20 years was 30 days and that was only and only an exception, adding business and pleasure on top of each other, first time I was away from US that long since I moved here. Maybe it's me I don't know and I don't want to bring this thread Europe vs US but we here in the U.S. don't get those long holidays you guys get over there, say we don't close entire businesses for the whole week between Xmas and new year etc
I did business with Italian companies many moons ago and knowing the factory will be closed between mid December and mid January was really hard to deal with. Don't get me wrong I love it for the folks work over there and I wish we have the same here and that's how it should be in my honest opinion.

Coming back to subject, dropping an envelope to mail box is really not that hard at least where I live and I believe most of the U.S. Is about the same. Post offices are in almost every neighborhood and drop boxes are at almost every street corner and you can always leave them in your own mailbox and he/she will pick it up the next day.

Of course everybody's life style is different, I'm more local these days and not travel as much as I used to, have a close friend who spends 4 nights a week out of town because of his work travel does everything online, works better for him, that's simple.

And yes I still has to post that envelope before I enjoy the beer, I have to walk to the end of my driveway and put the envelope in my mailbox, big deal, my fat ass needs some exercise these days anyway, too much beer is not good for your health but I'll continue to enjoy them whether I write checks or make online payments. Life is too short guys, enjoy your time here.
 
photopilot
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Fri May 08, 2015 3:23 pm

Quoting kiwirob (Reply 7):
I'm somewhat amazed that people still use cheques. I haven't had a cheque book in 20 or so years, I didn't realise personal cheques still existed.

Yes, I still use cheques for things like rent payments, but not much else. Electronic banking is good for some things, but not all. And like other's, I'm often paid by cheque from suppliers.

Quoting airportugal310 (Reply 14):
I think its the funny that the Euro's think they are better than everyone else for not using "cheques" (cute spelling by the way)

The rest of the world speaks English, not American-English which is quite a different bastardization of the language.

Quoting travelavnut (Reply 20):
So how do you pay your checks if you're on holiday or an extended period outside the country?

It's called a post-dated cheque which I leave with my landlord the month before or when I leave for a trip. It's not a valid legal document until the date printed on it, so no worries.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 23):
I dont allow anyone to pull money from my accounts. I rather have control and initiate the transaction be it online or via physical check.

Absolutely right. Ever tried to stop a pre-authorized monthly payment? I made the mistake of doing that with one phone company and when I switched to a different service the first company took 3 months to stop taking, or trying to take payments from my account. It all eventually worked out with the banks help, but what a hassle. So I push payments, never authorize anyone access to pull payments from my account.
 
StarAC17
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Fri May 08, 2015 7:22 pm

Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):
This made me wonder - if that check, i.e. my bank account & routing number, fell into the wrong hands, what sort of malfeasances could actually be committed? The bank won't authorize anything electronically without my PIN or last 4 of my SSN, nor would they honor a withdrawal without that info or photo ID.

They could set up a pre-authroized payment for a car loan, a mortgage or insurance and the absolute worst a cheque cashing company.

It then can be a hassle for you because you might not be able to talk to the company taking the money because they have no idea who you are and the company may not be able to do the due diligence to check who the account holder is.

You can try and do a stop payment through you bank but that might not work as some shady companies (check cashing/payday loan companies) get creative by changing the memo and the amount where there is no choice left to close the account.

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 5):
The validation of signatures is notoriously lax throughout the financial system, who can recall having their signature even looked at on their credit or debit card ?

It's not that its lax its that getting them is very hard. Regarding checking signatures on your debit/credit card, in Canada and overseas chip and pin have been the standard here for almost a decade, if you don't know that pin number your transaction isn't going through.

You can only check signatures though that same bank and not others and most banks will not release them to other ones. If that person was to right that cheque to themselves then it would likely come out of your account and if he is smart then they wouldn't make the amount large.

When a cheque goes to clearing all that is read is the amount and the account information on the Micr line and that determines whether there are funds available and checks for a stop payment. All other things are the responsibility of the bank negotiating the cheque.

Quoting jetmatt777 (Reply 21):
For example, my rent is due the last day of the month. On March 31 my rent was due, but I didn't get paid until April 2. I wrote a check, and hand delivered it to my landlord. My rent was satisfied, and they didn't process my check until April 6.

That is technically fraud and you are lucky that it hasn't bounced on you.

Quoting travelavnut (Reply 24):
Also, and maybe that's different in the US, but if something is incorrectly deducted I can very easily pull it back within a few weeks (although I have never used that in 10+ years).

It's about the same in Canada.
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sccutler
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Sat May 09, 2015 1:40 am

Quoting kiwirob (Reply 9):

Quoting sccutler (Reply 8):
I physically write about six a year; three are for property tax payments.

Can you use online banking for that?

Not for property taxes. Other stuff, it's just convenience (easier to hand over a check than to log in, set up a new payee for someone who will get one check, ever, from me).

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 23):

Quoting mad99 (Reply 16):
Why would you not set that as an automatic xfer every month? Why use a cheque ? (serious question)

I dont allow anyone to pull money from my accounts. I rather have control and initiate the transaction be it online or via physical check.

Agreed; all direct transfers must be initiated by me.
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Airstud
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Sat May 09, 2015 9:11 am

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 22):
Or when the check hits the regional clearing house - it will be scanned and destroyed. We don't get physical checks back anymore.

Clearing house shmearing house; most check processing these days is done via image. If you deposit a check at one of those envelope-free ATM's, the check is physically truncated right there at the ATM. It uploads the scanned image to the bank's item processing center and the armed vendor sends the deposited checks for shreddage. Many teller lines are also set up to scan & upload, without the paper check being transported anywhere.

Writing paper checks allows me to fatten up my List of Historic Post Offices I've Utilized, even though the one in the basement of Da Searssss doesn't really meet the criteria of that list.

In fact I am mildly traumatized that the signage on the glass door didn't say what kind of post office it was (i.e., "Station," "Post Office," "Branch, etc). The one in the Elmwood neighborhood of St Louis Park, for instance, says "Elmwood Branch." The one on Milk Street in Boston says "Milk Street Post Office." The one on the ground floor of the Grain Exchange Building in downtown Minneapolis says "Commerce Station." And in the Mission Valley district of San Diego there's one that says "Mission Valley Postal Store."

I have no clue what makes a given post office a Branch, a Station, a Post Office, or a Postal Store, but in the basement of the Da Searss it doesn't say "Wacker Drive Post Office." or "Wacker Drive Station." Or... well you get where I'm going with this.

So I am flummoxed about how to log this particular post office visit on my list.   
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scbriml
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Sat May 09, 2015 11:03 am

Quoting airportugal310 (Reply 14):
I think its the funny that the Euro's think they are better than everyone else for not using "cheques" (cute spelling by the way)

I think you're over-reacting.

Quoting airportugal310 (Reply 14):
Agreed. But the holier than thou crowd needs something to latch onto, as evidenced above

Holier-than-thou? Seriously, I don't read the thread that way.

We write maybe one or two cheques per month. The damned bank keeps sending us new books - we have at least five in a drawer at home.
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jetmatt777
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Mon May 11, 2015 3:54 am

Quoting StarAC17 (Reply 27):
That is technically fraud and you are lucky that it hasn't bounced on you.

How so? They didn't cash the check until long after I was paid?

They got their money when they requested to cash my check. Have never had a check bounce.
 
rwessel
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RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Mon May 11, 2015 5:43 am

Quoting jetmatt777 (Reply 31):

Quoting StarAC17 (Reply 27):
That is technically fraud and you are lucky that it hasn't bounced on you.

How so? They didn't cash the check until long after I was paid?

They got their money when they requested to cash my check. Have never had a check bounce.

A check becomes legal tender the moment you sign it, the date you put on it is largely irrelevant. The recipient can hand it to a bank the next moment, the bank can attempt to cash it the moment after that. The fact that the landlord happened to take enough time to get your check to his bank is the only thing that prevented the check from bouncing.

Try sending a post-dated check to your utility company - it'll hit the bank the (approximately) day they physically receive it. Heck, in many of those cases it'll hit the bank before your customer record is updated to reflect your payment. The people opening the envelopes usually copy the checks amount onto the stubs, verify that the account number is on the check, separate out the checks, and send batches of checks to the folks who deposit them, and the payment stubs in another direction. In many modern operations the check (and often the stub) is scanned at or near the point of envelope opening, and zips to the bank in electronic form (conceptually this is similar to how you can deposit a check at many banks by taking a picture of it with your cell phone).

Note that doing that sort of thing is *not* usually illegal in the sense of committing check fraud, for that you need to have an intention that the check will not clear at the desired time (state laws vary on the details).
 
jetmatt777
Posts: 4373
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 2:16 am

RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Mon May 11, 2015 5:26 pm

Right. Taking advantage of slow processing times is something millions of Americans do every day, however.

All my other bills I pay online, which immediately debit directly from my account at midnight.

My rent, I always write a check and hand deliver the day it is due. And most of the time, I do not care if they take it to the bank that night, as more often than not I have the money in the account anyway. But sometimes, the end of the month and my paydays don't line up well. And the slow processing times allow to float checks.

Regardless, my bank has overdraft protection which pulls funds from my savings account. (Which has about a year's worth of rent in it, growing every month). So even then, if they do clear it faster than I expect, the check will still be honored and cashed. When I sign the check, it is still a good faith check. I have the funds in at least one account to always clear the check. I keep my checking account as lean as possible, while keeping my savings account as full as possible. I hardly ever touch my savings account, and I won't spend money out of checking if there's not much in it. It's a good way for me to save money.
 
FriscoHeavy
Posts: 1800
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 4:31 pm

RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Tue May 12, 2015 12:30 am

Speaking of Checks, I just cut 3 of them and stuck them in the mailbox --- Gas Bill, Dentist and a Parking Garage Fee. Checks still serve a purpose and although less and less common, I think they will still serve some purpose for quite a while to come.
Whatever
 
StarAC17
Posts: 3908
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2003 11:54 am

RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Tue May 12, 2015 12:54 am

Quoting jetmatt777 (Reply 33):
But sometimes, the end of the month and my paydays don't line up well. And the slow processing times allow to float checks.

Taking advantage of those wait times from deposit to clearing is how cheque kiting (which is fraud) happens. Fraudsters will write cheques from bank to bank knowing one will clear after the other and can run with the money. If one bounces then the bank or banks is left with the loss

Quoting jetmatt777 (Reply 33):
Regardless, my bank has overdraft protection which pulls funds from my savings account. (Which has about a year's worth of rent in it, growing every month). So even then, if they do clear it faster than I expect, the check will still be honored and cashed.


Point retracted, if you have overdraft then you are all good as the bank either lends to you to clear the cheque or pulls from another account.

Quoting Airstud (Reply 29):
Clearing house shmearing house; most check processing these days is done via image. If you deposit a check at one of those envelope-free ATM's, the check is physically truncated right there at the ATM. It uploads the scanned image to the bank's item processing center and the armed vendor sends the deposited checks for shreddage.

Perhaps in the states it is but in Canada that cheque still goes through the clearing process. It may be faster because of the scanned image can be authenticated by the bank to see if the date and the payee are indeed correct (that is the bank's responsibility). Furthermore I think that the cheques are stored for a period of time in case the bank needs them for evidence of an investigation for an improperly cashed cheque.
Engineers Rule The World!!!!!
 
rwessel
Posts: 2448
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:47 pm

RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Tue May 12, 2015 8:03 am

Quoting StarAC17 (Reply 35):
Perhaps in the states it is but in Canada that cheque still goes through the clearing process. It may be faster because of the scanned image can be authenticated by the bank to see if the date and the payee are indeed correct (that is the bank's responsibility). Furthermore I think that the cheques are stored for a period of time in case the bank needs them for evidence of an investigation for an improperly cashed cheque.

I don't know about Canada, but in the US most checks are not stored, the scanned image is legally equivalent. Usually checks are converted ("truncated") at the bank-of-first-deposit (or a service company working for them), and it's all electronic after that. The original check gets destroyed fairly quickly (although not instantly). Under Check 21, banks *can* forward physical checks, but as you might imagine, most want nothing to do with that.

A couple of our business accounts still include getting the processed checks back with the paper statements (they are, of course, encouraging us to stop that). When Check 21 went in to effect, we'd get a mix of "real" processed checks, and printouts of the scanned images of the truncated checks. I haven't seen a real (domestic) check returned in years, though (IOW, we get stacks of printouts of the scans).

With some payees, it goes even further, you can convert a check into an ACH transfer. American Express, for example, often does that.

This was a big change after 9/11, when check processing was massively impeded by the airspace shutdown. Check 21 superseded most of the patchwork of conflicting federal state and local laws and regulations on check truncation.

A couple of highlights from the 2013 Federal Reserve Payments Study:

- Paper check writing continues to persist as a significant portion of noncash payments, but interbank processing and clearing of these checks are virtually all electronic. As in 2009, almost all checks in 2012 were either cleared by electronic image exchange or converted to ACH payments.
- Increasingly fewer checks enter the banking system as paper at all: in 2012 about one in six checks was deposited by accountholders as an electronic image rather than paper.
 
Airstud
Topic Author
Posts: 4892
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2000 11:57 am

RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Sat May 16, 2015 7:33 am

Quoting Airstud (Reply 29):
In fact I am mildly traumatized that the signage on the glass door didn't say what kind of post office it was (i.e., "Station," "Post Office," "Branch, etc). The one in the Elmwood neighborhood of St Louis Park, for instance, says "Elmwood Branch." The one on Milk Street in Boston says "Milk Street Post Office." The one on the ground floor of the Grain Exchange Building in downtown Minneapolis says "Commerce Station." And in the Mission Valley district of San Diego there's one that says "Mission Valley Postal Store."

I have no clue what makes a given post office a Branch, a Station, a Post Office, or a Postal Store, but in the basement of the Da Searss it doesn't say "Wacker Drive Post Office." or "Wacker Drive Station." Or... well you get where I'm going with this.

So I am flummoxed about how to log this particular post office visit on my list.   

Here in the a.net community, one of their own announces that he is suffering from trauma. And has the community rallied around him?

Such indifference...
Pancakes are delicious.
 
signol
Posts: 2652
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 5:18 pm

RE: What Can A Thief Do W/just A Bank Account Number?

Sat May 16, 2015 9:59 pm

Jeremy Clarkson, formerly of Top Gear, said this in his newspaper column a few years ago, and published his bank account number, saying that noone would be able to steal from him without additional information.
As it happened, someone was able to set up a direct debit to with the few details he provided, and those available in the public domain.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7174760.stm

signol
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