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It is common that living here in Argentina, I get checks lost in the mail. Specially during the last months of the year.
But it never happened to me that somebody cashed those lost checks...
until this year...
I had two checks stolen and cashed. One from VTC training company and the other from... GOOGLE ADSENSE!
These two checks were for an amount of less than $200
No big deal for many of you, but for third worlders is a nice amount of money.
Of course both companies told me that they have paid and there was nothing they could do about this.
Upon my request, Google kindly took time to send me a scanned copy of the check, and I discovered that it was cashed at an italian Bank. I will investigate more about this.
I have a couple of questions that maybe some of you can answer or at least point me which direction to go:
1) Is it so that these companies cannot do anything to recover these payments? I never received the checks, so I consider that they never paid me.
2) Did this happen to any of you? If so, what did you do in that case?
3) Is there an easy (well, I know that there is no easy way...) to open an international bank account without travelling to USA?
I receive checks from other small companies and after a coupe of lost checks, we agreed to use a more expensive and secure mail. But that was impossible to agree with a large company sucha as Amazon, and I suppose that Google will be in the same situation for being large companies with structured payment processes. Anyway I will try them.
I really really don't understand... Google cheque has your name or your company name. How can other people or company POSSIBLY cash your cheque?
In Hong Kong, if you are cashing a cheque for a company account, they check 2 different IDs and the registered address to see if they match the one in their bank record.
My best guess is that your bank policy sucks...
irock, the check never made it to my address. I live in Argentina. I never received the check. It was stolen somewhere between Google and my home.
Google sent me a scanned image of the check. The signature is not mine, and the seal is from an italian bank.
I did not write back to google, just wanted to know if somebody had the same experience. It is fair to say that I received my second check from google without any delay or problem. It is not a Google-only issue, it can happen with any company that issues a check via normal mail.
whizkiddo, I'll let you know when I have an answer from Google. I did not even emailed them back yet.
Tombola, I used my home address. No PO BOX.
With a copy of the police report in hand, you should be able to contact the bank the check was cashed at and explain the situation, including sending them a copy of the police report. Depending on the bank and the country's banking laws, that may be enough right there to convince them to fix it for you. At the very least they should look upon future deposits in that account with suspicion and you may hinder the thief's future actions.
If the check has already been paid out by Google's bank, they have no way of getting the money back in order to pay it to you. I have seen insurance agencies, etc... that have a pre-existing relationship with the thief (such as an agent stealing a refund check) take it upon themselves to prosecute the offender, but in this case it's really the fault of your postal service for not delivering the check to you. Sadly, if you have a government monopoly for a postal service, you are unlikely to get anything like actual "service" out of them in a case like this.
The main point is (I'm quite naive, I know) that the company (Google and VTC in this case) failed to pay me. I never received a check, and I don't even know if it is a problem of my Country postal service or it was lost at the USA and stolen. To add more, since it is not a certified mail, I could reasonably doubt that the check was sent anyway. Of course this is not the case, but it could be with other companies.
Of course, chances are that it was lost/stolen here, but whatever the situation was, I never received it and so, it is fair to say Google never paid me. I emailed them when the check was late, so I did warn them.
Understand me, I'm not picking on Google or VTC. In fact Google sent me the scanned image, VTC completely ignored me. Simply I'm trying to listen what's the experience of other people regarding this subject.
I'm in Argentina too and I've had 5 checks from 5 different companies not show up, all within a two-month period. One of them was cashed in Washington State and luckily I had stop-payments issued on the remaining 4 before they had the chance to be cashed.
Now all my checks are direct deposited or sent to my U.S address. I'm not sure what you can do for yourself. You might want to look into a mail forwarding service where they provide you with a U.S address and forward the mail by registration or certification.
Its kind of hard to see where the theft is occurring since my check was cashed in the US and yours in Italy. Either way someone along the route is wise to which mail contains checks and somehow sneaks them out. I can understand some lost or stolen mail on occasion but for me it was like every single check sent to me after a specific date turned up missing.
You are right, that bank sucks, because they did not require an ID to the man who signed it. But they never could have checked the signature because I don't have an account in that bank, not even in italy or outside Argentina.
Yes, I show my deepest sympathy... It's definitely not your fault.
Hold on, I don't get it... how could a bank cash a cheque written to another person? It makes me wonder what their bank policy is. Perhaps it's: Someone gives ya a cheque, cash it, charge the hefty clearing fee, and forget it.
If I could open an account I could request direct deposits there (except for Amazon who requests not only a bank account but also a postal mail adress in usa...).
I understand there's some kind of mail service in the States so you can tell them to forward all your mail via secure UPS or FedEx courier to your home country.
Not sure if that works for Google and Amazon though. If they allow you to do that, your mails will be securely handled by courier personels. I hope that will stop morons from stealing your cheque.
I'm actually mad about this since you must have work hard to earn your money.
Irock, thanks for your care about this subject.
I dealt with this problem with one company requesting my checks to be emailed via a courier.
I requested that to amazon (a much much bigger check...) and their answer was negative. Needless to say that every three months I will be on a severe strain until I receive my Amazon checks...
I've just requested google that possibility. Since it is a large company such as Amazon, chances are that I will receive the same answer.
Thanks everybody. Even though I never found a way to do so, I will try to find a way to open a bank account in the USA.
I will let everybody know when google's reply to my mail as soon as it arrives.
You get a US mailing address, and every month, this company will forward the whole package (bunch of cheques to you) via UPS or FedEx.
Hmm... but do you think they will ask for your US resident SSN?
If you find find similar service in Canada, then you don't have to file SSN or whatever to Amazon or Google.
Now, with regard to the bank. One thing you have to understand is there is a lot of fraud going on worldwide. There are actual crime rings who steal credit card numbers, check account numbers, etc. and physically create replacement cards and checks, with the needed identification, to perpetrate fraud on unsuspecting victims.
I wouldn't be surprised if there is a ring presently operating that is doing this to mailed checks as well. You may find the Italian Bank had a customer with your name, with ID at your proper address, who opened an account with them so they could cash checks ... sounds a little far fetched but it does happen.
Using a quality mailing service may be the answer (make sure they are bonded!), or open an account with an international bank that has branches in the U.S. that will also offers bank drop services.
Bank drop services are common when checks come in, they open and deposit them to the appropriate account, then send a report to the owner regarding the deposits made. I have no idea what fees are involved in this but it's worth looking into.
One thing you might try is to see if you can open a bank account with an International bank with branches in Argentina and the U.S. and then see if you can get U.S. companies to direct deposit to that account via their U.S. bank. You could also look into an internet-based bank, but I'm not sure if they have the same restrictions as normal U.S. banks or not.
I wrote google about this subject and expect to have an answer soon. Thanks everybody for your concern.
I expected this problem to be more usual, but it seems that it does not happen so often.