Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Disguised Cheque Delivery

Security through obscurity strikes again.
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I recently got a new box of cheques sent to my apartment. Having been opted into the "Secure" delivery, I anticipated that the cheques wuld not be immediately recognizable as such. And behold, they weren't! It took me all of six seconds to work out the oversized plastic bag with an unidentified return adress, with a box-shaped lump inside that clunked like cheques when I shook it, was my new cheques!

This doesn't strike me as very secure. It would only defeat a rather stupid theif. I propose that cheque delivery be made TRULY unrecgonizable ... by delivering them in a box that reads "Amazon.com".

Or pick your favorite online store, but Amazon, already being largely in the paper porducts business, is the obvious choice. The return address would be given as the Amazon Returns centre, but would in fact be the builidng next door, or the wrong suite, or the like - somewhere the cheque printers had taken over. The clunking would be disguised by wrapping the cheques in a layer of bubble wrap before putting them in the inner box, so they couldn't move around.

Few enterprising theives will be willing to steal every small box that reads "Amazon" on the off-chance that some of them contain new cheques ... and if they do, well, let's hope they like to read a lot.

gisho, Aug 02 2006


       I once labelled a tub of margarine at work with the following: 'Stool Sample. Keep Refrigerated. Date Of Sample : 31/01/1998' in order to stop people stealing it.   

       I think the principle could be applied here also.   

monojohnny, Aug 02 2006

       But Amazon wouldn't be for it, because it would increase their undelivered rate, and reduce customer satisfaction.
Unless you paid them, I expect.

       How many cheques do you get at once? I get a small book of 50. In a disguised mail service, which seems to be basically putting the envelope inside a larger, nondescript one.   

       What you want is something which apparently has no value - like junk mail. Disguise them as furniture catalogues or something like that.
Loris, Aug 02 2006

       [Loris], the smallest my bank offers is a box of 300. For someone who can get cheques 50 at a time, you could easily make it look like, say, an invitation to subscribe to a music service, with the same effect.   

       Amazon could probably be persuaded, with a small fee. They sell everything else, why not sell cheques?
gisho, Aug 02 2006

       [gisho] - I believe this is already baked - certainly it's not widely known, but it would appear that there are those in the banking industry who have implemented this idea. I don't want to say too much here though, because, if everyone knew about it, it wouldn't be so effective now would it. Shhhhhh!   

       <ahem> Nope. Wouldn't work. Rubbish idea. Nothing to see here! Back to the drawing board! ;)
zen_tom, Aug 03 2006

       If it's baked how come they didn't try to sell it to me? *grumble*
gisho, Aug 04 2006

       The answer, surely, is online banking.   

       P.S. Why would a thief want to steal *your* checks?
DrCurry, Aug 04 2006

       [DrC] So he can write 'CASH' on them and have them exchanged for $$$s (or £££s, €€€s etc) all he needs is some accompanying false ID that suggests he's you - and sometimes, he doesn't even need that.   

       Actually my bank only did this when sending me a new ATM card - I've not tried it with cheques.
zen_tom, Aug 04 2006

       But that would entail gisho having a whole bunch of money in his/her bank account that a thief could steal.
DrCurry, Aug 04 2006

       Not necessarily - there are a number of places here in the UK who will accept your cheques at face value, taking them in return for cash with only the most cursory checks on your identity, least of all whether or not you have the funds to back your cheques.   

       Failure to provide cashflow is likely to involve a visit from a collector who will be more than happy to remind the defaulter of some of the more subtle workings of the financial system.
zen_tom, Aug 04 2006

       So switch to a bank that protects you from that kind of fraud. And it sounds like the police should be investigating those check cashing places for ties to organized crime, or are they getting paybacks too?
DrCurry, Aug 04 2006

       True enough - and security techniques, policies and procedures ever progress towards the day when these things no longer pose a problem.   

       Still, the main thrust of the idea is more to do with the disguise of valuables sent through the post (in this context, we could replace the term 'cheques' with anything going through the postal system that might be considered stealable).
zen_tom, Aug 04 2006

       Create a dummy company. Something completely unrelated. Dairy products, a bulk pack of salt .. anything with little value.
kuupuuluu, Aug 04 2006

       I don't know where you live, but your banks sound rather sloppy. Last book of cheques I got involved me signing and stamping an authorisation form for their collection, submitting it, answering the phone personally to the bank manager who confirmed the authorisation details, collecting the cheques, being phoned by the bank manager again to confirm that the cheques were indeed collected, and finally submitting a signed and stamped chequebook receipt slip. And that was for just 50 cheques.
vincevincevince, Nov 15 2008

       // anything with little value //   

       Political party manifestos.
8th of 7, Nov 15 2008

       Don't know if it was baked two years ago, but it is now--Amazon sells checks.   

       I'm surprised that anyone would get their checks from a bank, at all.
partdavid, Nov 16 2008


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