Flushing, Queens (WABC) — For a woman from Queens, it was the ultimate currency turmoil.
Catherine Ballate sent money to her landlord in the form of a money order last fall.
But the check never arrived.
Instead, someone stole them from the email and modified them. It was then cashed by a post office employee.
However, after this apparent fraud was committed, the US Postal Service refused to exchange stolen checks.
So Catherine turned to 7 On Your Side.
“They scribbled what I wrote,” she tells us, showing us the tampered check.
The thieves didn’t bother to wash or blank out the names on the checks they stole from the mail.
The culprit took a pen and wrote directly on a money order printed to Catherine’s landlord.
“They marked the whole thing and rewrote another person’s name,” Katherine said.
To make matters worse, a closer look reveals that two of her apparently tampered money orders appear to have been cashed by the USPS at the Elmhurst Post Office.
The clerk wrote down the scammer’s passport number as identification and gave Katherine $1,000, which was supposed to go toward her rent.
“First, we found out they hadn’t received the item, and then from tracking, we found out they hadn’t been delivered,” she told us. “Then it turned out that the storage box had been broken into and all the mail had been stolen.”
The Post Office has notified customers that a green storage relay box in Forest Hills has been compromised.
All mail, including Katherine’s checks, is stolen. The check is the same as a fraudulently cashed one.
Katherine thought it would be easy to get a refund, given the USPS theft and serious money order fraud, as the money order was trackable and mailed with proof.
However, both of her claims were denied. She was told no replacement check would be issued.
“I communicated with them several times, but they just said, ‘We can’t help you because the money order is cashed,'” she said.
Flushing Sr. lives on a fixed income. She has had her landlord withhold the missing rent payments since last year.
“You can’t pull extra payments out of thin air, so you need to get a refund,” she says.
So she finally sent a letter to 7 On Your Side.
“If you do things, you get results,” she explained.
We have asked the U.S. Postal Director to review Ms. Catherine’s case.
“After reviewing the information provided by ABC 7 On Your Side, the USPS customer complaint will be reassessed and a full refund will be issued,” the agency said in a statement.
And she received a replacement order right away!
“Here’s my check,” she said reassuringly. “Thank you, Seven on Your Side!”
share your story
Do you have any unresolved issues with the company? If so, 7 On Your Side would love to help you!
Please fill out the form below or email us your questions, issues or story ideas. 7OnYourSideNina@abc.com.all emails Must include your name and mobile phone number. 7 On Your Side cannot answer without a phone number.
https://abc7ny.com/stolen-checks-check-fraud-post-office-postal-service/13376851/ Stolen and Tampered Checks Cause Confusion in USPS Money Orders | 7 On Your Side