Comments for: Checks stolen from mailboxes funneled through Ellsworth Home Depot

Posted Dec. 31, 2012, at 4:58 p.m.

ELLSWORTH | Local police are alerting people that checks are being stolen from residential mailboxes and have been used to purchase items at a local home improvement store. Detective Dotty Small of the Ellsworth Police Department said Monday that she knows of six people in Ellsworth and Trenton who …

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  • Anonymous

    I blame the people behind the counter excepting these checks. What ever happen to presenting and ID to prove who you are?

    • Anonymous

      Oh I’ve made that argument before but people come out in droves to shoot that idea in the foot.

    • Anonymous

      Really? Don’t blame the thief huh? Liberals!

    • Anonymous

      My daughter and I went to Lowes in Brewer to buy a washer. I paid with a check for which I had to show ID. Not a big deal.

    • Anonymous

      Unfortunately for Bushfan, you hit the nail on the head. The checks are being taken at a single HD location, are modified (amounts changed)….the person stealing the checks is working w/ the person at Home Depot who is accepting them. Its the ONLY way this could continue going on.

      Flagged bushfan for his idiotic comment. Will continue to do so until he’s screaming about his false-sense of 1st amendment rights :)

    • I’m going to re-word what I wrote: It is not against the law but it is against Visa and Mastercards agreements for a merchant to ask for ID to complete a purchase.

      Edit: To the two people that down voted my comment. I hope you feel good for not knowing your rights.

      • Anonymous

        Please show me that statute. I have always been taught to check ID for ALL cards. Now that I run my own business, I do the same, and have NEVER had anyone get upset, or tell me it’s against the law.

        • That is because most don’t know you cannot ask for ID. Give me a few and I’ll post the information for you.

          Edit: Here ya go Jemilessmom.

          http://credit.about.com/b/2011/05/21/no-id-required-for-credit-card-purchases.htm

          Cashiers often ask for ID with credit card purchases to make sure the right person is using the credit card, thereby preventing credit card fraud. However, VISA and MasterCard merchant-credit card agreements don’t allow stores to require ID for credit card transactions. Merchants can ask for ID, but they can’t refuse the transaction if you don’t show your ID.

          If a merchant refuses to honor your credit card because you won’t show your ID, you can report to MasterCard online – Mastercard’s Merchant Violation form – or report to VISA violations by calling the number on the back of your credit card.

          • Anonymous

            That’s not a law. That’s an agreement between Visa/mastercard and the merchant. Mymerchant agreement isn’t with Visa/Mastercard directly, it’s through a third-party. Until the third-party tells me otherwise, I will continue to require an ID.

            Thank you for taking the time to post the link.

          • I should not have stated it was a law. I did edit my post to reflect that but if someone refuses to show you ID you cannot reject their purchase if they are using a Visa or Mastercard.

          • Edmonton Oilers

            Good ole backpedaling.

      • I still get asked to show ID some since I have cards that are either not signed or say “See ID” on them. Not nearly as much as one might thing though…. When I worked retail I was always trained to ask for ID if the card was not signed or asked me to check ID.

        • If your card is not signed, it not valid. An unsigned card should always be rejected by the merchant and writing See ID does not make a card valid.

          • Anonymous

            Not saying you’re wrong, but I have never signed the back of a credit card. And I have never been denied as long as I show I.D. In today’s world, the customer does most of the card swiping so the cashier never sees the card.

          • Anonymous

            Every single credit card ever issued says NOT VALID UNLESS SIGNED.

          • Tyke

            If your wallet is stolen the thief can sign your cards with his/her handwriting to make it easier to use them.

      • Anonymous

        Isn’t a picture visa a form of I.D.?

      • Anonymous

        To further clarify it says,”VISA and MasterCard merchant-credit card agreements don’t allow stores to require ID for credit card transactions. Merchants can ask for ID, but they can’t refuse the transaction if you don’t show your ID.” It is within the store to ask, but, if the “BUYER” refuses, the store can’t refuse the transaction!

  • Anonymous

    call me stupid but how is it that a check that is written to someone or a business can be used as payment at a store?

    • Anonymous

      Ellsworth PD sayson their FB page that it appears the thieves are removing all but the signature from the checks. Since they are run electronically, then returned to the customer, there are no checks to examine.

      • Anonymous

        OK so they remove the pay to: from the checks and put “home depot”, when they hand the check over to the cashier wouldn’t they look at the check first to make sure it’s legit before they are run electronically?

        • Anonymous

          Educate yourself on the practice of “check washing” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Check_washing

        • I wrote a check at Walgreens not long ago. All I had to do was sign the check on the bottom. They ran it and then gave me back the check because they treat it like a debit purchase.

  • Guest

    call me stupid but how is it that a check can be written to someone or a business able to be used as payment at a different store?

  • Anonymous

    I guess I missed something. If these checks were made out to a “business” for payment of a bill, how can someone cash them at Home Depot? Wouldn’t the cash register person be suspicious of a check made out to a business?

    • Anonymous

      Not if the person at the register is in cahoots w/ the thief. Then its a few buttons and off they go.

      Coming soon: A story about the Home Depot employee being arrested.

      • Anonymous

        No one is in cahoots with anyone. Check washing has been around for years and makes the crooks millions of dollars a year. Acetone is used and it doesnt harm the paper.

        • Anonymous

          Oh neat so you know the entire story, including whos doing what, etc. Have you told the police?

          Yes I saw Kevin’s check washing link too. Congratulations we can both use the internet.

    • You have never heard of check washing?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Check_washing

      • Anonymous

        Happy New Year, King of Links

  • Anonymous

    The theft of US mail out of a mailbox tends to interest the USPS Inspectors very much.

    • Anonymous

      I beg to differ, I’m still waiting for my 9 missing checks and two packages and the 11 forms I filled out about my missing mail to show up.

      • Anonymous

        And since your missing mail hasn’t shown up, you don’t think the postal inspectors are interested?

        • Anonymous

          You have to talk to them to get the missing mail forms….

  • Bill Cat

    Something sounds screwy here. Just walk into HD with another persons check, buy something and pocket the change — and then return the item for cash money because the receipt says “cash?”? No ID, no questions asked. WHAT? On what planet? I’ve been to HDs in five different states, and used checks at many, and always got IDed for checks… Most won’t even take a 3rd party check at all, ID or no.

    CNN has the right idea, best check the cashiers. Has potential to be a sneaky dope fiend scheme.

    • Anonymous

      By the time the checks make it to Home Depot, they are no longer made out to ANY business, or have any amount on them. The thieves are removing all ink, but the signature. The cashier then runs it through their system, which electronically debits the account, and the check is handed back to the customer.

      • Bill Cat

        I’m not up on such things, but recall a couple checks getting wet and it completely screwed them up. Must be modern technology…

  • Anonymous

    Who uses checks anymore?
    Oh yeah Obama keeps writing the ones our a##es can’t cover.

    • Anonymous

      I know! For all of those unbudgeted wars he started while simultaneously lowering taxes. Oh wait, never mind…

  • Anonymous

    Detective Dotty Small of the Ellsworth Police Department said Monday
    that she knows of six people in Ellsworth and Trenton who had checks
    taken in November and December. In all six cases the checks ended up
    being used at Home Depot in Ellsworth, she said. TIME TO START LOOKING AT A CONNECTION WITH AN EMPLOYEE THERE, IM SURE YOU WILL FIND IT…. scumbags, try and take mail out of my box, and you will lose a hand in the process…

  • Anonymous

    Back in the day before debit cards I wrote checks everywhere. I was only asked for id once and that was at a walmart. Back in 2000 I wrote a check for windows at home Depot,my first trip there. and was not asked for ID.

  • Anonymous

    It’s part of an “Insider” too. The checks had to be made out “Pay to the Order Of”… The cashier has to be blind or, and “Insider”…

  • Anonymous

    How is it possible to alter $72 so that it looks like $416? If these checks are written to pay bills they are most likely written payable to a company or possibly, but less likely, an indidvidual. They were NOT written payable to Home Depot! It is suspicious that Home Depot would be so incompetent to cash these checks payable to someone else. I would think the banks are also liable but banks seldom catch check fraud anymore thanks to the politicians who were bought by the bankers several years ago and approved their new, money-grabbing check processing schemes eliminating most real paper and the employees that used to examine and file it.

  • Jack Torrence

    who pays with checks anymore? its outdated

  • I get the whole check-washing thing, but c’mon. Are the cashiers even looking at these checks? It really looks bad for them, in my eyes.

    I’d fire every cashier that accepted one of these checks, and then I’d fire whoever trained them. In this job climate, I’m sure there would be plenty of more observant people clamoring for these jobs. The whole thing is bizarre.

  • Anonymous

    Just a thought…I was at HD today and used the self checkout, but used a debit card. Did not notice whether a check could be run through the self checkout, but that would possibly be a pretty easy way to do it.

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