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Stolen $528 Insurance check, how to handle this

I am wondering if anyone else has been in this situation…

Got in a fender bender nearly a month ago, other driver at fault. His insurance co. adjuster came out, settled on the estimate with me, said the check would be mailed, life was good. I used my credit card to pay for the repair, expecting to be reimbursed.

3 weeks go by and no sign of the check in the snail mail. I called to inquire the other day and told that my check status was “paid” i.e. cashed or deposited. Huh?

It looks like someone got in my mail and snatched my check, went to a shady check cashing place and got away with it. Damn.

I requested that the insurance co. send images of the check to me via email. Waiting on those.

Once I can determine where it was cashed, where they screwed up and didn’t check the person’s ID, should I try to settle this matter with the institution directly? Or go straight to the police? I’m pretty sure that this is isolated petty theft and not elaborate identity theft.

I’m thinking that the insurance company can be left out of the matter at this point, I verified that they at least sent the thing to the correct address. No apparent negligence on their end.

Advice on how to proceed, once I get a look at the check images? I’m curious if they forged my sig or were dumb enough to sign their own name?

And what I did learn from this matter is that I should have had the thing Direct Deposited, had the option and declined because I didnt have my checking info. in front of me and I was in a hurry. Learn from my mistake.
Thanks -
Accordion

You must file charges with the local police department and do as they instruct.

I agree this is now a police matter. Gather the check images and take it to the police or you local district attorney office to investigate. Stealing mail is a federal offense, so consider contacting the FBI as well.

Call the check issuer, ask them to cancel the check as it was stolen and issue a new check, that’s the way we did it in the olden days.

I had a friend who had a check stolen from his mailbox and cashed by someone else.

They first allow the local police to investigate the case to see if it could be resolved. And if not then the federal government would get involved. It was solved pretty quickly when they looked at the time stamp on the check for when and where it was cashed, and then looked at the security video of the establishment that cashed the check at the time. They were caught.

Tester

You should go straight to the police regarding the theft of the check. Dealing with an unknown check cashing service could be a bad idea. The mail theft is a federal matter and needs to be reported to the Postal Inspection Service. Your local police may help you file a report with the postal inspector, otherwise contact your local post office and ask them how to report stolen mail.

I would only add this to the advice that you’ve been given. The check cashing place will probably not cough up any surveillance tape to an individual but they will certainly do so upon request by the police and the U.S. Postal Service.

This would at least verify that the person cashing the check is not you and the person, or persons, who did this are guilty of a Federal crime by tampering with the mail.

Yep local police but the insurance company still owes you the money. The check can be reversed through the system so the last one in the chain eats the loss. That’ll be the check cashing outfit or the theif.

Thank you Thank you Thank you all. I think I’m pointed in the right direction now.

Tester is 100% correct…Somewhere, there is a surveillance video of this transaction…

You need a FAX, both sides, of that check…

Let the insurance company know you were not the one who actually cashed the check and they may contact the police and open an investigation of their own. A complaint from an insurance company relating to fraud would likely get the attention of law enforcement more that a complaint from an individual. This would also be consider mail tampering/fraud so it should be reported to the US Postal Service so they can also investigate. If the responsible person is found they could be facing federal criminal charges. Yes the insurance company does still owe you for the damages.

I had a person steal $650. from me and money from several others totaling about $3-$4K if I recall correctly in an internet deal several years ago. I lived in NC and they lived in CA. I contacted the local sheriff’s department, Internet Fraud Complaint Center (division of the FBI), US Postal service and the CA police of the incident. It took awhile to make an arrest because he was on the run, but he got 3 years in prison and he’s now having to pay restitution with interest.

Not to disagree with the other advice, but have you asked the insurance company what to do? I’m sure they deal with this all the time. They might be willing to give you step-by-step instructions. (And you might still have a legal claim against the insurance company, being that you have not received the payment. Perhaps it’s their loss, and not yours. But I’m not at all sure of that.)

Others have given you very good advice, and I can echo what they said–namely to contact both the local police and the Office of the US Postal Inspector (NOT the FBI). Once you have a police report in hand, then you can approach the insurance company regarding issuing a new check.

However, there is an additional step that you should take in order to prevent a recurrence of this type of situation, or worse–a genuine identity-theft problem. You need to install a locking mailbox.
I cannot believe how many people use a garden-variety unlocked mailbox that ANYONE can open and steal from.

Could someone jimmy the lock on a mailbox? Sure, but why would they go to this trouble when there are 20 more unlocked mailboxes nearby?

I have had a locking mailbox ever since I moved to a rural area, and as far as I am concerned anyone who does not use one is being…naive…and foolish.

My experience with such situations has been that the insurance company, post office, etc., do not wish to make any effort until there is an official complaint of a crime. Everyone wants a copy of the police report for their records to CTA.

Well, VDC, you had better hope that most people do not take your advice and instead remain naive and foolish or the primary reason you cited for thieves bypassing your mailbox will have disappeared!

Personally, I think a locked box would be more attractive. What do you have to hide or protect that these other people do not? If you put yourself in the position of the thief, which purse would most likely yield something of value; a walmart discount purse or the Coach high end handbag that has a lock on it?

I’ve lived in rural areas nearly my entire life. Never had a locking mailbox or anything stolen from it, my yard or my house. Not to say I’m not cognizant of the risk, just that I feel it’s so small as to not lose any sleep over. All of my sensitive communication is done electronically today. Good thing too because the post office can’t seem to deliver anything to the right address anyway. If I had a locking box, it would be stuffed with the neighbor’s junk mail and my mail would be in their unlocked box! :wink:

Yeah USPS does seem to be under a great strain lately. Came home from Greece and picked our held mail up and in it was the neighbor kids refund check. Hope she didn’t need it too much.

I would like a locking box mainly for the Saturday deliveries that I wish would go away. If you go for the weekend, the mail that comes Saturday and lots of times Friday, just sits in the box all weekend. I have three boxes on my pole though and haven’t really found a decent way to do three locking boxes that looks decent. Also quite sure the one neighbor would not pay the extra money and I’m not going to buy one for him. Not sure what the answer is.

Just an update from the OP here, the ins/co called today and informed me that they examined the check images and there was indeed a signature other than mine on it. They said they would “investigate” and simply issue me a new check in the mean time. It almost seems to good to be true but that works for me. Thanks again.

-Accordion

Correct that last sentence to: too* good to be true.

-Accordion

Hope that they catch the criminal.
From where was your check likely stolen? Your mailbox or somewhere in the postal system?

“They said they would “investigate” and simply issue me a new check in the mean time.”

Good for them. That’s the way an honest company should operate. Which insurer is it? They deserve a good plug.