Generally I am a positive person and try to see the best in others. If I lose patience with someone, it just makes me upset with myself. Goodness knows, I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my life and have been grateful for others’ patience and tolerance.
I am stumped, however, at how to see the best when someone deliberately sets out to betray and steal from me.
Last year, I got a phone call from a charity and fell for their pitch. I sent them a check. Afterwards, I did what I should have done in the first place and researched the charity. I found disappointing news. They are one of the “charities” which keep 80-85 percent of donations and only give 15-20 percent to the needy people.
When they called back this year, I requested they removed me from their list. They called a second time and I asked once again to be removed. The third time they called, I insisted that I be removed from their list and that they never call again. This all occurred in the first week of January.
Imagine my surprise when I was balancing my checkbook this past week and found a suspicious check that had cleared my account. The check was suspicious because (a) I had no record of it, and (b) it had a number assigned to it that was completely out of sync — too many digits and not any were in my checkbook.
So I went online and printed off a copy of this check. It had my name, address, and account number on it. It had been deposited in some strange bank I’ve never heard of. It had no signature and was issued to a simple acronym — DPVF. Since I keep good records, I knew exactly what that meant. The “charity” which I had demanded withdraw me from their records had used my previous check to issue themselves another $50.
My bank tells me that it isn’t considered bank fraud because they had my account number. My recourse is to hire a lawyer which may cost more than the money taken, but we will at least report it.. To prevent it from recurring, my husband and I had to ensure all our checks cleared and close our current account. Then we had to open a new one and I was advised to “use caution” when writing checks.
So now, I am only writing checks to charities that I absolutely know and trust. Those may actually get money orders instead. The individual organizations which use professional (occasionally rude) callers will be politely refused.
I’m trying hard to stay positive about this and not generalize my feelings of betrayal and distrust. For you, dear readers, I am a cautionary tale. Don’t be fooled into giving anyone your checking account number or credit card number over the phone. Send checks only to agencies you know well, or send money orders.
Protect yourself, because as mom always said, “charity begins at home.”
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at a local elementary school and Hospice and keeps busy taking care of house, husband, son, and pets. She lives just outside of Troy, Ohio.