Google Adsense checks stolen, encashed by thieves

James Ryan Jonas

It’s not the first time this happened and it definitely won’t be the last. The current big news circulating among bloggers is that several scumbags in the Philippines are stealing someone else’s Google Adsense check and encashing it using a fake identity.

How exactly can a person do that? Beats me. But it only shows why PayPal took some time before offering the full lineup of functions to PayPal Philippines accounts.

Below are some examples of cases of Adsense checks being stolen and encashed by a different person.

  • Jepoy of

Jepoy reported that his Adsense cheque was issued on January 25, 2007 and was expecting to receive it from the Quezon City Central Post Office a month later. After weeks of delay, he contacted Google to follow up. Last week, however, Google sent him a copy of the encashed check, showing that it has already been deposited on February 15, 2007 in an Allied Bank branch in La Trinidad, Benguet. From Quezon City to Benguet? Oh, just an 8-hour drive.

When Jepoy called up the bank, the manager explained that a VIP client, a money changer, deposited it. The manager also related that the money changer supposedly bought the check from someone they know. Did the bank conduct strict verifications upon accepting the check, given the fact that it was endorsed to someone else? Not really. According to Jepoy, the bank manager said that since the amount of the check is “small,” additional verification is not required. Also, the money changer is a “valued client” of the bank and “denying the check could loose [sic] them as one of their depositors.”

  • Mark Verzo of

Mark’s Adsense cheque was issued on August 25, 2006 to be delivered via the Alabang post office. Two months later, when he still failed to receive the cheque, he contacted Google to follow up but the latter told him that the cheque has already been encashed.

Where? In East West Bank in Dagupan. By whom? By a money changer in Dagupan who supposedly bought the cheque from another person. Sounds familiar?

  • PinkSEO of

Mark Macalua of SEO Philippines reported that a friend of his (PinkSEO, confirmed by her in her blog) had a similar incident when an Adsense cheque issued on July 26, 2006 was encashed and deposited to an account under her name without her knowledge. The cheque was sent via the Caloocan post office and deposited to an account in RCBC Savings Bank.

Other incidents of Adsense cheque theft:

  • Markku of commented in Mark Verzo’s blog that in 2005, his Adsense cheque to be delivered via the Pasig post office was encashed in LandBank in Dagupan
  • John of commented in Marc Macalua’s blog that his Adsense cheque to be delivered via the Paranaque post office was also stolen
  • cool_78 posted in the PMT Forum that his cheque issued on November 27, 2006 to be delivered via the Quezon City Post Office had also been encashed

Hmm, let’s see. Google issues the Adsense cheque, to be delivered to the payee via a post office closest to the payee’s residence. Instead the cheques end up being encashed in a bank located in a city different from where the cheque was to be sent. Because these incidents involve various post office locations, there are reasons to believe the cheques were stolen even before they were distributed to the post office branches. But where exactly could this happen? No idea.

Finding a money changer that encashes cheques — including stolen ones — is easy so it’s not a problem for the thieves. But if we can prove that the money changers are in cohorts with the scumbags, we might be able to track down where the trail really starts.

Several victims of these theft cases are currently planning to approach the media so that this modus operandi will be made known. If you were a victim yourself, post in the forum’s All about Adsense Check Payments thread or contact the other victims above.

Here’s to hoping that these thieves are sent to where they really belong: prison.

For the meantime, I think you’d be better off requesting your Adsense checks to be delivered via DHL Secured Express Delivery. Better pay some fees just to get your check, rather than to not get it at all.

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.