Scraponomics Episode 98: Metal Theft Presentation (Cont.) - Where the $25 Payment Restriction Fails
“I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.” — Abraham Lincoln
Last week, we discussed some basics on how the current metal theft law in Michigan functions. Today, we’re going to discuss the effectiveness of the law.
I can only speak for Friedland here, but in our experience, the $25 payment restriction in the current law has actually made the problem worse. Remember, the idea behind mailing checks to the address on the seller’s ID is so law enforcement can have an initial lead if it turns out the material sold was stolen. However, we feel this adds a number of other problems to the mix.
If this is really about providing law enforcement with an initial lead, we already have the information they need — electronically from our database — to arrest and prosecute the seller if it turns out the material sold was stolen. Does mailing a check really help?
There have been a lot of upset farmers and people who live in rural areas who primarily use a PO Box to receive mail for security reasons. Because we have to mail to the address on their ID, to say they’re not happy would be putting it lightly. Remember, we’re talking about innocent people here, not the crooks we’re all trying to stop.
Check fraud is still one the most prevalent and easiest forms of fraud. Friedland has been a victim of it before, and adding to the amount of checks we need to mail only increases this risk.
Checks? Seriously? I don’t even own a personal check book. In a day and age when I can go to any retail store and be emailed a receipt, forcing an entire industry to mail checks feels like a step backward.
So, what should we use in place of mailing checks then? Next week, we’ll discuss an option we offered that wasn’t adopted; a nationwide reporting system.
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