OCD Episode: Writing a Check

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This is part of a series of ongoing OCD episodes, which I will post as they happen. This is live, stream of consciousness. It happens. Often. Sometimes the subjects are different.

“I don’t have PayPal, can you send a check or a money order?”

Well. This should be simple, right? There’s the solution to getting the keyboard/synthesizer I purchased from someone online that I don’t even know and now I am thinking… and thinking… and thinking…

I’ve interacted with this person online, I know him from a forum I frequent. Ok, I don’t fully know him. Wait, back up.

The issue: what are all of the risks involved in sending a check or money order? Things have changed in the past ten to twenty years since this sort of thing was common. People steal identities left and right now, don’t they? What are all of the things that could go disastrously wrong?

Well, why not turn to the internet to find out?

Search: Risks of writing a check

Seriously, man! Stop it. You’ve been writing checks since you were a teenager. They’re tried and true. They have safety mechanisms! No, I’m not going to stop, I’m going to dig and then go down the rabbit hole.

Well, ok. What I already figured is a risk is mentioned. Online, so take that with a grain of salt… which I will not, because I will assume all eventualities to be both possible and probable. One can steal your routing number and account number. From there they can pay for things online.

Let’s ignore all of the safety mechanisms that sites and banks have for using these two pieces of data to pay for things and assume the worst: someone along the way of sending the check will copy these two pieces of information and use them to pay for things. Really expensive things.

How would they get this information? I don’t know where this check is going to land. I already don’t trust the post office to send meaningless mail! I already assume putting an envelope in the blue box is akin to putting it in the garbage.

Oh, but I have another option: a money order. But these things are just like cash. They aren’t tied to my bank account, but here’s the eventuality we’re going to stew on now. I’d be sending this money order through the mail. So it could get lost… which means, in my mind, it will get lost. And if it gets lost, I will come off like I am trying to rip off this random person I met online.

So I have the option of paying for a money order—which costs money. And then I would want to track the money order, and tracking costs more money. So I’m now paying quite a bit just to send the money “safely.” Oh, and once the money order is stolen… let’s go to the internet:

Search: Can I cancel a stolen money order?

Inconclusive. As always! I guess it may be possible but probably impossible to secure a stolen money order. Which of course, I am estimating the possibility of far more likely than actually likely.

This is all too stressful! As… I’ve written many checks recently, actually. My psych only takes check. Who’s to say someone in the office hasn’t… make that isn’t… stealing my identity through my checks right now? Arrrgh! Thoughts! Thoughts! Thoughts!

Thoughts! Thoughts…

Screw it, I’m writing the check. And tracking the envelope. I’m going to risk it. This isn’t good, but nothing is good.

But it is probably good for me.

To risk it.

I need to risk it.

This is good for me.