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Mike’s Musings: Stolen IRS check has me going bonkers

The thieves and scammers are getting more and more prevalent and sophisticated each day. Whether they are threatening to imprison you for monies owed or attempt to extort you with doctored photos, they are disrupting our tranquil moments with their schemes.
I am in the midst of attempting to uncover a scam, thus get $10,000 returned to me that I had originally mailed to the IRS. That’s right, on April 18 of this year I mailed a $10,000 check to the IRS as partial payment for my 2022 income taxes.
A couple of weeks ago, I was informed by them that they hadn’t received the check. After further investigation it was revealed that someone named Alice Brown, stole the check from either the mail or at IRS headquarters and proceeded to alter the check. She or whomever, erased the IRS as payee and put her name and address on the check and then proceeded to cash it at a bank in Albany GA.
My first thought was to take the matter to the bank I do 90% of my business with, and from where the funds were drawn from. After a few days of investigation, they denied my claim to recover the ten grand and proceeded to put a hold of my account. So now I have to pay the IRS twice- plus penalties and interest.
I was pissed. No further investigation, no phone call, no nothing except a letter in the mail saying I was s___ out of luck. I proceeded to contact my attorney, who discussed a course of action and suggested that in his opinion the bank was culpable. In others they owe me the money. If we file suit, that will be a column for another day.
Meanwhile, because a hold had been put on my account, checks started bouncing even though there was more than enough in the bank to cover ten times the amount of checks written. Checks to writers and delivery personnel. According to the bank this would never happen, but it did, and of course I had to apologize profusely to those that were affected.
My lawyer told me to file a police report, which I did. The policeman who took the report was not very encouraging. I also fired off a letter to the postal inspector and IRS, explaining the stolen check and how it occurred either in the postal system or at the IRS. No one has responded yet.
Upon further investigation, my attorney and I surmise this is probably part of a theft ring. We believe this is not an isolated case, and that authorities are aware of this activity. I simply point this out, because if it happened to me, it can happen to you.
Thieves and con artists are amongst us, wherever we may be. In my wildest dreams I never thought they would steal a check made out to the IRS, but apparently to them, it makes no difference who the payee is. I will never ever write them a check, again. From here on in, my checks will be issued electronically.
I’m going to go check-less. No longer will I mail checks. I will pay my employees and vendors electronically. I might suggest you do the same, particularly if you have a business account. They simply are no longer safe.

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