You are driving along the busy freeway at a handsome clip rotating the day’s doings like a waterwheel.
Up on your tail rides a pick-up truck or a Honda Accord or a BMW, driven by a male in a hurry. Before you can move to the side, the driver makes a dramatic yank around you, accelerates, and then moves back into the fast flow, almost cutting you off.
Where is a highway patrol officer when you need one?
You are inching along through the congested intersection of after-school education, repeatedly evaluating your business future like a neurotic cockatiel stuck in a small cage who checks her reflection in the tiny mirror fifty times a day. You are balancing your checkbooks and paying your bills. You discover that counterfeiters have compromised your account.
Where was the bank? Why did it cash two checks without your signature?
Last month, I turned on my laptop and summoned up my QuickBooks account to print a standard profit and loss report before I had my glass of Zinfandel. I find that studying my profit and loss reports these days helps to create the sense of pending tragedy that a glass of red wine on a cloudy June evening soothes. The pathos of a small business fighting for survival in a ruthless economy further compels me to add some Drunken Goat Spanish cheese to a plate with crackers.
Content with wine and cheese, I open my online business banking account to sync the two programs.
Something is fishy. Where is Carolyn Keene when I need her?
As a child, I read every Nancy Drew Mystery book and fancied myself a Nancy Drew twin (without the blond hair and blue convertible), so I studied the photocopies of my canceled checks. Counterfeits!
Made out to a woman from the Merry Maids Co. and cashed against my account at a Fred Meyers store in Portland, Oregon, the two checks were U.S. Bank checks. I do not bank with U.S. Bank.
Down to my bank I went the next morning.
Yes, the checks were bogus.
Yes, my account must be closed.
Why would you cash checks against my account that were not from this bank? Without my signature? Not from my business?
Mrs. Sabraw, do you think that the banking industry is able to look at every check?
Well, yes I did.
Mrs. Sabraw, move on. Take a breath. Life is short. Don’t sweat the small things…
You are driving along Highway 680, heading to Danville to have lunch with someone at one of your favorite restaurants, Café Esin, an intimate spot with homemade desserts.
The phone rings and you punch the talk key.
Is this Cheri Sabraw?
Yes it is.
This is Officer Johnson from the Portland Police Department. I’m calling to inform you that we caught Ms. Smith, the woman who wrote two checks against your account. She has confessed; just thought you might like to know. She was part of a large counterfeiting ring here in the Pacific Northwest.
Wow. Where is the crackerjack detective when you need her?
Right where she should be: in Portland, Oregon doing her job and doing it well, just like Nancy Drew.