“This note is in response to your junk mail column and specifically the practice of companies that send unsolicited blank checks, as you described. This resulted in a most unpleasant experience for my daughter a few years ago. She had been sent a packet of those checks, but before she got them a thief removed them from her mailbox (typical not-too-secure apartment complex), filled out the checks for hundreds of dollars, forged the signature and managed to cash them! My daughter didn’t even know it had happened until the bank informed her of the rapidly increasing number of checks that were being returned. About the same time multiple vendors were also leaving not-too-pleasant messages about bounced checks.

“It turned out that the thief was apprehended in his car with opened mail addressed to a slew of other people including my daughter. I understand that he got off with a warning. My daughter spent months cleaning up the personal financial mess that was created by the incident. Lesson: I would modify slightly your admonition. ‘DISCARD’ should be spelled ‘DESTROY.'” — Lee Haas

Wayne Arczynski takes this a step further. “You miss the point,” he writes. “Junk mail should not be thrown out, it should be recycled. I have a friend (‘oh sure’) who tears up his junk mail and uses the handy return envelopes to recycle the information back to the source.”



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