100+ days after criminals steal her checks, Lockland woman still without her money

Shelley Morrison she was blessed to have some savings. ‘But what about people who live paycheck to paycheck? What do they do?’
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 11:04 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The case of a Lockland woman who claims to someone stole her checks is one of many criminal investigations into mail fraud active in Greater Cincinnati.

Shelley Morrison says she placed two checks in the outdoor blue box at the Lockland Post Office on June 19.

Ten days later, her bank emailed her that her account was overdrawn.

Morrison keeps copies of the checks on her account. She says the criminals washed her checks and then reissued the checks to themselves.

“One was $3,900 for home improvement,” Morrison said. “And one was for $800 for lawn care.”

One of the giveaways that the checks were forged, Morrison says, is they were printed.

“I do not print,” she said. “I cursive. They printed out the whole check and even printed my husband’s name for signature.”

Morrison says she feels awful and can’t sleep at night. “I just feel violated, because somebody got ahold of my money.”

Cincinnati Postal Inspector Nicole Lutz says the Cincinnati Field Office has countless open, active investigations into recent mail theft and check fraud.

The case of a man who in August stole a master key from a postal worker in Covington, for example, remains open. Lutz says no arrests have been made.

Morrison says she knows others this has happened to. She feels frustrated and overwhelmed by unanswered questions.

“I want to know why it is taking so long for the money—for the banks, the US Banks and the others—to give our money back?” She said. “It didn’t take that person but one click on her phone to get my money, but I’m still waiting to get my money back.”

That’s not all.

“I had to show two forms of ID to cash a check,” Morrison said. “But somebody cashed a check on my ID, and she didn’t even fill out the back of the check, and got my money.”

Morrison had to get a new checking account. She says she doesn’t plan on writing checks anymore.

“As of today, they said the fraud investigation was over with, but they did not know when they were going to give me money back,” she said.

Morrison adds she’s doubly concerned for others who fall victim to fraud.

“I was blessed to have a little bit of money in savings, so I could save my bills,” she said. “But what about people who live paycheck to paycheck? What do they do? They’ll have checks bouncing everywhere. I mean, I worked hard for that money. I need it back.”

Lutz offers preventative tis for customers to avoid becoming fraud victims:

  • If using the blue boxes, it is always a good idea to deposit any outgoing mail into the blue boxes before the last pickup of the day. This ensures that USPS will pick up the mail and process it the same day. There is a label on each collection box that outlines the pick-up times.
  • Customers can always go into post offices and hand over any outgoing mail to the window clerk or deposit into mail receptacles inside the facilities. There are many post offices with 24-hour lobby access.
  • Customers can reach out to their respective banks to obtain “secure” checks that are more difficult to alter. There are also certain ink pens that are more difficult to alter when writing out information on checks.
  • Regularly monitor your bank accounts and activity. Several banks have options for their customers to alert them to suspicious activity on their accounts.

THE POSTAL INSPECTOR ALSO SAYS CUSTOMERS CAN REACH OUT TO THEIR BANKS TO OBTAIN “SECURE” CHECKS THAT ARE MORE DIFFICULT TO ALTER.

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