Checks and Fraud

You thought I was going to write about politics again, didn’t you?

Not tonight. I’m taking it a little more personal this evening. It has been a day, and not just because of the Trumpists and the Department of Justice, and not because of the New Hampshire primary. It is about a deposited fraudulent check that I think all parents and others need to know about so it doesn’t happen to you.

Did you know you can get an e-mail, or find online, free money? Yes, checks can be found out there for a bit over $2,000 that will be sent to you just because you are extra special. You’ll see it and think this can’t be true, but you call the number on the check, and lo and behold they’ll tell you the check is 100% good. Of course they will!

Now, as seasoned adults, we can spot a scam and fraud from far away. Most of us know you don’t ever get something for nothing, especially when it comes to money.

For a teenager, who really doesn’t want to work, but wants a large amount of pocket money, this sounds like manna from heaven. You call the number because your parents have taught you to watch for things like this. They assure you the check is legit, so go ahead and cash it. You believe it, and cash the check.

A few days later you, a teen, notice some of your money is missing from your bank account. Finally you tell your parents, and after they give you that look like, “who are you?, I taught you better,” they help by calling the bank to see what is going on. The bank tells you it is a fraudulent check and cancel your debit card for good measure. As a good deed, the bank even reverses the charges for you. Lesson learned, right!

Well, I guess not. One of our children got one of these checks again somehow. Then they deposited it, knowing full well the check was not genuine. Then goes and spends it as fast as possible, with the bank not realizing the check isn’t good until it is too late.

Bad enough, right? Well, it gets worse. Since the account is still tied to us because our child did not take us off the account as we had asked, since he is now over 18, we are liable for repaying the funds. We are liable since our child knew the check was fraudulent and did it anyway, and it is still connected to our account. We are out the money, not our child. Not really sure if the bank will do anything or not, but we can’t even remove ourselves from the account until the funds have been paid back. Talk about a hit to the wallet.

As with many things as a parent, you live, you learn, and then learn some more about things you didn’t think you would have to worry about, and learn what you had believed you had taught your child in terms of right from wrong you discover apparently it didn’t stick. In the end, all we parents can do is know we did our best. At some point our children make their own decisions and live with the consequences or the benefits. We had thought once our child hit 18, we wouldn’t have to worry about his decisions in the same way. Oh well, we live and we learn.

The reason I tell this story is so you can be aware of this scam occurring out there, to be mindful and watchful so you don’t have to pay back a large sum of money on a joint or custodial account. The lure of money for nothing can surely be strong I guess.

Hopefully your child will do better than ours in their decision making.

Happy parenting…

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