NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A West Nashville man is warning the public after he fell victim to a check-washing scheme.
Mark McPherson says in only a matter of hours his check was stolen from his mailbox and altered for thousands of dollars.
“Don’t put a check in your mailbox,” McPherson stated as a lesson he has since learned.
As a business owner, McPherson says writing checks is something he has to do, part of his routine for decades in his West Nashville neighborhood, but this is a new one for him.
“Found out the check had been washed and all the ink had been washed out of it, rewritten to a different person and they had stolen it out of my mailbox,” he explained.
The check was taken from his mailbox Thursday and was washed and at the bank in only a matter of hours.
“I thought maybe they had just taken a pen you know because it was written to my insurance company. I just thought maybe they’d written a name over the top of it, but no they completely took everything off of it except my signature; everything else they wrote on it.”
McPherson showed News 2 the check that looked a little worn but legitimate.
“I thought maybe it was a check I wrote to pay off business taxes or something like that to the county,” he said while reiterating that he hadn’t.
He praised the employees at the bank for catching it, before cashing it.
“While I was there, there was an ex-private investigator and they had stolen three of his checks from his mailbox and cashed them for over $8,000, and he’s trying to hunt them down. They said they’ve been having it all over the country.”
McPherson posted on Nextdoor to warn his neighbors, only to discover many of them had fallen victim to the check-washing scheme as well.
“Oh yeah, a lot of others have said that this same thing has happened to them recently.”
An employee of Truist bank told News 2 they are seeing a lot of fraudulent checks and are trained to catch them. She advises taking checks to the post office and using a gel pen you can that makes it difficult to alter.
“They said use a Uniball 207, it’s a gel pen and they said that ink can’t be washed out of a check,” said McPherson.
Metro police also advise using the post office if you are mailing a check or anything of value. They add that if you’ve been a victim it’s important to report the crime so their fraud unit can track it.