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Check Washing

Detective Steve Rose
I got a call from the folks at Office Max. They told me of a pen that contains ink that cannot be washed as is the case in many fraudulent check crimes. You see these reports occasionally and if you haven't seen the results of check-washing, you need to know that you cannot tell the original ink was ever on the check. It's that good.

Here’s a little quick info-paragraph on check washing:

Check Washing

Check washing takes place to the tune of $815 million every year in the U.S. And it is increasing at an alarming rate.

Using a process known as check washing, mail snatchers erase the ink on a check with chemicals found in common household cleaning products or on the shelves of your local Walmart and then rewrite the checks to themselves, increasing the amount payable by hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

Types of Chemicals Reported Used:

  1. Acetone, most widely used, is a highly volatile organic solvent used mainly as a hand-wipe solvent in cleaning applications. It is also a good drying agent for wet parts. But it will erase most inks from a stolen check without any noticeable effect.

    Reading the remarks on side of a can of Acetone, you will find out it effectively removes some greases, oils, waxes, and inks. It is commonly used to remove uncured fiberglass resins, varnish, and lacquer and may be useful for applications that require a highly volatile cleaner. Acetone may be applied by hand wipe or immersion in an unheated tank;
  2. Benzene,
  3. Bleach, used in ever day cleaning in your home. Normally to whiten fibers in clothes washing.
  4. Carbon Tetrachloride, most widely used in carpet cleaning,
  5. Chloromice "T", a mild form of bleach, used normally in the socking of baby diapers,
  6. Fox "IT", used mostly with stamp collectors,
  7. Clear Correction Fluids,
  8. A high-performance eraser to erase everything from ballpoint pen ink, PPC and Diazo copy ink, to typewriter ribbon ink, drafting ink, and printed matter.
I know, I know. Some of you are saying "Why would he give that information out. Now more people will know how to wash checks." (It took 7 seconds to pull this up on the Internet.)

The pen is called the uni-ball 207 Gel.





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