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Some Elkhart businesses deal with missing mailed checks

(WNDU)
Published: Feb. 12, 2020 at 5:59 PM EST
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The check’s in the mail? Don’t bank on it.

“I grew up in a day and age of, you know, a stamp and it makes it to its destination, you know. I’m really old school, new dog, old tricks syndrome,” said Jon Beck with New Generation Caterers on Beck Drive in Elkhart.

Beck says he mailed some checks in late January using his business mailbox by the curb, but he says two of those checks never made it to their intended destinations and instead ended up in the hands of thieves.

“I mean, I guess [I feel] a little violated because, you know, because it was taken from my sacred, you know, box,” he said.

16 News Now has been taking a closer look at numerous check fraud complaints filed with the Elkhart Police Department. There were three last week alone.

A total of five businesses appear to have filed complaints in the last 30 days. One business alleged a total of five separate check fraud incidents.

As for New Generation Caterers, Beck says someone not only found a way to snatch a couple of company checks out of the mail but lifted the account information and created a new check with a new payee and they adjusted the dollar amount to be paid upward.

“That check got changed from $85 to over $1,800,” Beck said. “They printed their own, they washed it and then printed their own. You can tell if you put one of my legitimate checks, you can see my check has a border all the way around top and bottom, this one did not.”

In a separate complaint, checks were said to be mailed by placing them in a seemingly secure U.S. Postal Service blue box in Middlebury. In that case as well, checks were stolen and used to create new checks written for a higher dollar amount.

At New Generation Caterers, the fraud did $3,500 worth of damage.

In the short term, Beck plans to hand deliver new checks to local vendors whose originals were pilfered.

In the long run, he has a different plan.

“Online banking. Online banking is the safest, at least to this point, until the scammers get creative, it always seems like they're ahead of the game,” Beck said.

He says he did get his money back from the bank Wednesday.

16 News Now tried to talk to the Elkhart Police Department about this but were told we needed to contact the U.S. attorney’s office.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Northern district of Indiana provided a written statement saying it was their policy to neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.

A request for comment from the U.S. Postal Service is pending.

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