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The First Federalism Savings and Mistrust Bank of Reagan Wattles, Kansas opened its records to local law enforcement types who wanted to make a case on a peace-loving resident who smoked dope, went his own way, and didn’t think Right. The local oinkers were on a financial fishing trip, looking for any possible scrap of illegal something or other to trip up Our Hero. But he was clean.

To gain some revenge, Our Hero planned this one to happen while he was out of town on business (yess, he had a real job). He had a trusted lady from another town rent a safe deposit box under the name of one of the local policemen. She placed a loudly ticking, eight-day clock in the box. In another branch bank, she did the same thing and planted a tiny tape player set to run for three half-hour intervals a day. The batteries would power it for three weeks. On an endless loop tape she had a voice screaming in panic, “Help, help, this bank is holding me prisoner. I’m trapped behind this wall in a cell. Oh, God, help me.”

Our officer friend nearly lost his badge over this one…

When Bob Grain was in business, a flaky school teacher wrote him a bad check. He submitted the check again, and it was paid. However, since this jerk was not high on anyone’s list of favorite people, Bob decided to give hime something else to do besides bothering people with his bad checks.

“First, I noted the name of his bank and his account number,” Bob reports. “Then, for the next several weeks, every time I got the opportunity, I’d drive by the after hours depository, fill out a blank deposit form with all his infor, and deposit a penny in his account for him. After eight or ten one-cent deposits, the benk got all bent out of shape with him and called to see what he was trying to achieve by making their employees waste time crediting him with penny after penny.

“The school teacher was very apologetic to the bank but couldn’t figure out an easy way to stop it since he wasn’t doing it. When the penny deposits continued, the bank called him back and offered him two choices: take his Mickey Mouse account to some other bank, or change his account number and have new checks printed. By now he was highly indignant with the bank and told *them* to shove it. He is now banking elsewhere.

“From personal business experience I also learned this rather valuable trick,” Bob reports. “Suppose you have fowarded a check for collection, and it bounces. It comes back marked to indicate the account did not have sufficent funds to pay that check. In all probability, that account is still open and has some funds remaining…just not enough to cover the check.

“If you trust Mr. Check Bouncer to eventually make good on his draft, the most prudent action is obviously to resubmit the check, hoping by the time it goes through the collection department the second time, he will have made a new deposit. But there are times when it might be more adbentageous to `eat’ a portion of the money involved and settle for a lesser amount…but get something for sure.

“Banks are very shy about giving out the amount of money actually in a customer’s account. A little detective work can sometimes reveal what you need to know. Let’s suppose the check you’re holding is for $1,000. You know Bouncer probably doesn’t have that much in the account. Call the bank, tell them you are holding a check from Check Bouncer for $1,000 and give them his account number. Ask them to verify that he does have funds to cover the check. In a few minutes, they’ll probably inform you that he doesn’t. Thank them and tell them you won’t take his check. Give it a few minutes and have a friend call back, and give another commercial name. Tell them Bouncer just wrote you a check for $700 and go through the whole procedure again. Let’s suppose this time the word is that Bouncer’s account can cover the check. Thank them.

“Now you have two numbers with a $300 spread. You know he has at least $700 but not as much as $1,000. Give it a few more minutes; the chances of getting a different explyee are pretty good in large banks. Call back; this time ask about an $800 check…`Yes,’ they say, `there are sufficient funds’ Thank them again. You know it’s over $800 and less than $1,000.

“Call `em back and try $900 on them, same ruse. Let’s suppose this time the word is `No.’ At this point, you probably know more about Bouncer’s account that he does. And, there is a way to recover a substantial amount of that $1,000.

“You know his account number and name and address from the check. Drive to the bank and try for a drive-in teller. Pick up a blank deposit slip on the way. You’ve narrowed it down to a $2000 spread, so use your own money to make a $200 cash deposit in Bouncer’s account and ask the teller to credit it promptly, acting as if you are Bouncer, and tell her you’re afraid you’re going to be overdrawn. That should get the $200 credited immediately.

“Make a bee-line for the front door and present Bouncer’s $1,000 check for collection. If everything goes as it should, they should pay off the check, leaving his account almost empty. You recovered $800 from his account. If he actually had $850, you ended up leaving him an extra $50, so you really lost $250 on the jerk…but you didn’t take the chance of losing the full kilobuck,” Bob advises.

“What’s really upsetting is that banks are so scuzzy that if you just walk in the front door and present the $1,000 check without all this advance work, they will prbably decline payment. If you tell them you’ll accept any monies in his account, in lieu of full payment, they will protect this scumbag and themselves and still decline payment. Then, while you’re walking away, the next person may present another of Bouncer’s checks, this time for $850 and have it paid immediately, no questions asked.”

Bob tells us that many computerized bank deposit programs give you a printout showing the new balance. This way, say, if you were depositing a dime or so in your mark’s account, you would also learn his or her total balance. This bit of infomration is wonderful to know, both for your use and prevention of use by your enemies. Gee, just sitting there reading Bob’s letter, I jst thought of five or six rotten uses for this information.

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