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Monday, November 22, 2021

Check Writing Is Unofficially Obsolete

    I recently visited Hawaii for the first time this past summer and had a great time with my wife and friends. We ate good, saw a couple of Hawaiian festivals, and stayed at a luxurious hotel with a spacious room that was across the street from the ocean and nearby all of the high-end department stores in case we wanted to shop. The only thing I didn’t like was the fact that I’m from the Midwest (Chicago to be exact), and the flight was an eight-hour trip. However, this isn’t what this blog post is about.

    When I returned to Chicago a week later, I found out that my dad was in ICU suffering from kidney failure. My mom and brother didn’t want to spoil my vacation and felt it would be best if I didn’t find out until I returned home. It turned out that his kidneys were slowly deteriorating for quite some time and had gotten to the point where the meds weren’t working anymore. He had lost so much weight over the past year due to a lack of appetite, but I couldn’t figure out why until he landed in the hospital. He spent the entire summer in and out of the hospital and rehab because he initially refused dialysis, but it had ultimately reached the point that the doctors told him his only option to survive was to receive weekly dialysis treatments. Needless to say, he took his doctor’s advice and is doing much better.

Banking Without Personal Checks

    My mom and I had to expand our responsibilities in the weeks to follow while my dad was back and forth from the hospital to the nursing home―I had to grocery shop for my mom because she doesn’t drive and also help her around the house with extra chores in addition to mowing their lawn on a weekly basis. I also had to find time to manage my own household, and she had to take over my dad’s bills. It was then she examined his bank statement and learned that someone had bilked him for $4900―he’s old-school and not computer savvy, so he wanted to pay his water bill in full for the entire year with a check in the mail. He’s part of a shrinking minority of people who still write checks and unfortunately got burned for it. The bank had conducted an investigation and discovered that a woman who worked as a clerk with the Department of Water had used his banking info to create an electronic check to pay his water bill and pay herself almost five grand in the process. My mom had spent weeks trying to get a new checking account number and debit card for him because of red tape and the fact that he was incapacitated.

    My dad’s situation is a cautionary tale that reveals it’s no longer feasible and is extremely dangerous to write checks in today’s society. A clerk thought that it was okay to steal from him because he had enough money to pay off his bill for the year, and he was an easy mark to a cyber-criminal who can easily copy someone’s banking information off of a check for a quick score. Scam artists have permeated every facet of life to the point that something as simple as writing a check can cost a person thousands of dollars on top of countless hours trying to recover what was lost.

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