(Before I go any further, people asked how she found out what happened, so I asked her, and she reminded me that she calls the bank everyday to see which checks of hers have cleared. You know, the automated service. Well, today, the service was all like, "Check. Number. 743. For. SIX HUNDRED AND NINETY-NINE DOLLARS," and she was all JIGGA WHAT?, and here we are now.)
So, anyway, she just called me with an update--I had made a couple of comments on the previous entry asserting (as I hoped at the time) that it was probably a machine/clerk error, but... no. It totally wasn't. ANOTHER check for $690, this time at Home Depot, went through. Or rather, it tried to go through, because I think my mother only had about $300 in checking at the time (and the Wal-Mart scam check had already bounced on that), because she gets paid at the end of the week. And while we're here, can I just ask: why are these people spending just a shade under $700 each time? Is it like, you know, stealing < $700 is within their moral compass, but > $700 is just beyond the pale? And what the hell are they buying at Wal-Mart and Home Depot for that kind of money (but no more than that kind of money)? Small electronics? The entire Garanimals apparel collection? A really big bag of fertilizer? Anyway, apparently they--the bank? Home Depot? Someone?--were able to come up with the check itself this time, and it did have Mom's account number on it (that is, it wasn't a mistake), and it had a "very common name" with a driver's license number (probably fake) on it as well. The check itself wasn't hers; it had been "washed" and then redone (reprinted? I don't know exactly).
Fortunately, our money has been returned and we're off the hook for any further scammed checks. Unfortunately, my parents are going to have to get a new bank account, which sucks particularly because it's the end of the month and my mother had sent out checks to pay bills, plus their paychecks and my stepfather's pension are coming in. Fortunately, our bank is awesome, and they've agreed to keep the compromised account open to incoming funds, but close it to debits, checks and withdrawals; they've also agreed to let Mom list the checks she just sent out and clear those if they match up with the information she gives them (number, amount, payee) and only then, and not if, you know, Scammer McJackass decides to stock up on $695 worth of Grapette at Sam's. Also, if s/he feels like depositing some money, we are totally open to that eventuality. Right.
So what happened? Apparently the two scam checks have the same numbers, in sequence, as checks my mother wrote very recently. My first advice was, "Invest in a shredder for future bank statements," but my mother pointed out that any cashier could have written the account number down. But she was really spooked about the check numbers matching, until I realized out that duh, they could have also written the check number down as well. Like, if she used check #742 at the grocery store, Genius McJackass could write down the account number and check number and then hand them over to (let's say) her brother Scammer to use in Georgia. Except that, you know... we're kind of going to notice that someone who isn't us is writing checks for giant amounts of money. Like... what? They think we're just going to go, "Oh, I guess I forgot about that trip to Home Depot one state over that I made last month"? Also, I think they weren't counting on my mother's Awesome Powers of Money Management to bust them immediately. I'm still not sure why the bank is being so deeply awesome about this--I mean, they're going to double-check the bills she paid and everything! They're calling our Publix about the check that may now bounce because of Scammer!--except that... well, my mother, ladies and gentlemen.
So that's where things stand now: massive inconvenience, but largely, we escape unscathed. As far as catching the McJackass family goes, obviously, the first place to look is that last pre-scam check she wrote--whoever she paid with check #742 is about to receive a visit from the Long Arm of