COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Susan Orlos lives in Columbus, but purchased land in Michigan and paid for it in installments, making the final payment in September of last year.
“And it was upwards of $5,000,” said Orlos. To be exact, she paid $5,168 with a cashier’s check.
“That’s not a good idea, apparently,” Orlos said, because a month later, Orlos got a call from the seller, asking if she was having trouble financially.
“I said, ‘It’s nice of you to ask, but no. Why do you ask?’ She said, ‘Well, we never got your check.'”
Knowing she put the money in the mail, Orlos called her bank. They took some time to investigate, and eventually, Orlos spoke with someone from the fraud department.
“They said, ‘Well, we found several things out.’ I said, ‘That’s fantastic.'” Then, Orlos said, the bank told her someone cashed the check in Michigan, but it was not the seller. Instead, the bank said it appeared someone got their hands on the check before it got to the seller, an increasingly popular practice among thieves.
“They can wash the front of the check and put anyone’s name on it and it can be easily cashed,” Orlos said.
Orlos worked with the bank to restore those lost funds, but the process wasn’t easy.
“Once it moved out of the bank’s hand here, in Columbus, I couldn’t even get a contact number,” said Orlos. “I spent days researching online, looking for a customer service fraud person, waiting for phone calls. Nothing.”
Orlos said her bank had to investigate, then locate and contact the institution that cashed the check. Then, nearly six months after the ordeal began, Orlos got a phone call.
“I got a phone call, which shocked me, from the bank, and they said, ‘Susan, we have your money.’ At which point, I stopped breathing for a minute,” Orlos said.
Orlos said the bank told her a cashier’s check is a secure form of payment, but can still be targets for fraud and could lead to delays in getting your money back.
“They said that if I had just written a personal check, I would have had my money returned in two days.”
Orlos said she’s grateful to have had a bank that worked to get her money back, but knows that isn’t always a guarantee. So, she called Better Call 4 to share her story, and a message.
“Talk to the banker. Tell them what you’re doing. Ask them if it’s necessary,” said Orlos. “I’m ready to walk my payments next time if I owe someone money. I’ll come with gold coins or a horse, you know?”