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Stolen AdSense check

Sadly it was cashed by the thieve.



5:18 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Sorry if it is not the place to post this, but since it involves Adsense, I thought this was the right place.

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.



6:05 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

do tell us if they agree to an alternate methoed of mailing cheques, even if it costs us the publishers. we are based in india and also have sleepless nights when the chq is in the post.


7:06 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


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...


7:17 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

eflouret, did you provide a P.O. box number as your address?


7:25 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks everybody, for your replies.

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.



7:30 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The first thing you need to do is file a police report. That may or may not be a good option for you depending on where you are in Argentina, but at least try.

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.


7:38 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


exactly what I'm saying... if the italian bank can just double check the address and the name on the cheque with that in the bank record, that moron can never cash your cheque. Anyway, at least that's why we do things in HK.


7:42 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks Sharper. As I said before, the amount of money is somehow interesting for my country, but it is by no means enough to file a police report. That does not work here. I could build dozens of sites and get them indexed in the time I would spend dealing with police reports.

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.



7:44 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I think there is some sort of organized theft occurring.

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.


7:46 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

irock, the point is that I don't have an account at that italian bank. I don't know that bank and I live in another continent.

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.



7:52 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


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.


7:57 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks irock. I can cope losing $150 but I fear losing larger checks and there is no way of preventing this. I cannot even open an account from here in USA without having a social security number and a postal mail adress.

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...).



8:10 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

eflouret does paypal work in Argentina? I am sure people would be willing to cash your cheques and pay a proportion of it into the paypal, maybe taking a little commision for their efforts but it would at least be safe? I am in the UK though so you would probably want to find someone US based.


8:14 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


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.


8:26 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Daunk, PayPal does not allow money transfer to Argentina. Remember, the third world... :-(

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.



8:37 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


try this

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.


8:47 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I understand your concern regarding the loss of your checks. However, if the company issuing the check has proof of it being mailed and cashed (as Google does) then you were effectively paid. It is the responsibility of the bank that cashed the check to ensure the right person cashed the check.

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.

Good luck,


10:43 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I don'T no for sure but it sounds like your bank is responsible for clearign th echeck without proper identification.

I'm still waiting for mine, and Google told me they will only block the check and write a new one 45 days after the date of issue.



11:52 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

A lot of south American countries have wide-spread problems with their mail. My sister is a missionary in Brazil right now and they literally recommend that if you are going to send a pair of shoes from the U.S., you send each shoe in a different package to reduce the likelyhood that they are stolen. Most of the stuff we send her never gets through if it is of value at all. We've taken to sending packages via special courier to the mission headquarters and letting her mission organization distribute it (she moves around too much in remote areas to go direct). It's slower, but it eventually gets things to her without passing through the local post office.

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.


2:46 am on Sep 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

killroy, it would be great if my bank was responsible for this, at least I could go and complain, but this check was stolen and cashed at an italian bank in Europe, and I live en South America.

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.

Thanks again,



8:54 am on Sep 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

In the light of this, perhaps Google could consider sending its cheques using less-conspiquos post - my envelope had the Google company name and address on a sticker on the front.
Removal of this information (or placing it inside the envelope) would give less indication of the contents of the envelope.

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