BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — More calls have poured into the WPTV newsroom after our series about a massive check-washing scheme aired last week.
“Eventually, I got it all back,” Benjamin Crosby told WPTV.
Crosby called WPTV after seeing our series of stories about the Boynton Beach post office on Jog Road.
Several WPTV said they lost thousands of dollars after dropping checks in the post office’s outdoor collection box.
Crosby said his money was stolen when he was mailing a check not from Boynton Beach but to Boynton Beach.
“I had mailed a $60 check to a lawn service guy for his monthly service, and turns out there were two checks that were fabricated off of that information on that $60 check,” he said. “They took around $1,800 out of my bank account.”
Crosby said he did get his money back, but that was after weeks of calling his bank. He did not want to publicly say who he banks with.
That’s something Joseph Schioppo, who called WPTV the same day Crosby called, can relate to.
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“I think the problem is at that postal center in Boynton,” Schioppo said. “There were five checks that were mailed to me that were stolen that were signed and remotely deposited.”
He also had a check that he tried to mail out of Boynton Beach that was washed as well.
The grand total for all of the washed checks was $25,000.
Schioppo told WPTV he banks with Bank of America.
“We try to work with victims and other banks to return the funds when feasible, but this is not always possible,” a spokesperson for Bank of America told WPTV in a statement.
“The bank did decide to refund me the money once I threatened to take all my business from them,” Schioppo said.
Last week, Delray Beach police arrested five people in hundreds of check-washing cases. Officials told WPTV they could end up being connected to cases in areas outside of Delray, including Boynton Beach, as well.
“More arrests are forthcoming,” Delray Beach police detective Kimberly Mead said last week.
The American Bankers Association has several tips on its website to help residents from becoming the next victim of check washing.
Those tips include the following:
- Consider making payments using e-check, ACH automatic payments and other electronic and/or mobile payments
- Use pens with indelible black ink so it is more difficult to wash your checks
- Follow up with charities and other businesses to make sure they received your check
- Use online banking to review copies of your checks to ensure they were not altered
- If you still receive paid checks back from the bank, shred — don’t just trash them
- Regularly review your bank activity and statements for errors
- Don’t leave blank spaces in the payee or amount lines of checks you write
“I even understand that even money orders and certified checks are now being targeted,” Crosby said. “So, it’s very difficult in the business world today to fund what you need to fund. Everything needs to be done online.”
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