Wells Fargo shut down my checking account last week. Apparently, I had deposited a check that turned out to be COUNTERFEIT. What?
I have been participating in surveys the last couple of years. Every once and a while, I will receive a fat envelope with a PDA to play with or a sheaf of detailed survey forms asking me to track my drinking habits for a couple weeks. I give them my opinion, return the stuff, and a little while later, I will get a Visa Check card with fifty or a hundred bucks loaded on it.
So, when I received a letter from Survey-Platinum with a check enclosed, I thought nothing of it, and deposited it into my checking account. The letter explained they wanted me to be a mystery shopper for Moneygram, and to use all but a few hundred dollars (my fee) in shopping their money-wire service.
A couple days later, I was online trying to transfer some of my money from savings to checking, and it wasn’t allowing me to do so. I called Wells Fargo online support and was informed the account was on hold, and they would be shutting the account down due to a fraudulent check I deposited.
Shit! I thought. I’ve been scammed. I asked the agent over the phone if I should contact the police or FBI, and she said all she could tell me is they were closing down the account. Thanks for the help.
I contacted the Seattle Police and they sent an officer to my apartment. I showed him the letter as I explained what has occurred. He said, since the letter and all was from another state, there was nothing he could do. “Should I contact the FBI?” I asked him. He took down my phone number, and said he was going to check with his fraud unit and he would be in touch.
I was a disappointed that all I received was a “sorry can’t help” and a “you shouldn’t have deposited the check” response from the officer.
The rest of the day, I thought of the movie Catch Me if You Can. I wondered if the perpetrator was in a print shop, like Leonardo DiCaprio, creating fake checks and running his con just a few steps ahead of the police. I realized that was silly, for it was just a movie, albeit based on a true story.
I received a call from Officer Parnell, and he told me there is a website the FBI set-up where I can submit my ‘complaint:’ IC3.gov
Back to romanticizing. I envisioned an FBI Agent taking me into his office, going over the letter, and with my help, eventually breaking the case, resulting in the arrest of the criminal.
Instead, I submitted the complaint online, and received a screen: Thank you for your submittal. Very unsatisfying. It’s been a few days, and I have not had any contact from the FBI, not that I expected any. I feel violated somehow. Yes, the closed account is a bit of a pain in the ass, but I didn’t lose any money. The bank said they are sending me a certified check for the balance of my account sans the counterfeit check amount.
I know identity theft and con jobs are not to be taken lightly. But, in real life they are definitely not as interesting as in the movies.