When you rely on your checks each month, you don’t have time for them to go missing.
Unfortunately, if you receive your check in the mail, then there’s a chance that it might not show up.
Since the USPS handles thousands if not millions of pieces of mail every day, it’s only inevitable that some of those pieces will become lost.
If you find yourself in this situation, then you may wonder what your options are in finding your lost check.
Here are 10 things you can do if your check goes missing in the mail.
Check Lost In Mail (10 Things You Can Do)
1. Look Through Your Mail
One of the first things you should do if you notice that your check hasn’t arrived is to look through your mail.
If you get a lot of ads and junk mail, then there’s a chance that the envelope is within the mess.
It’s also easy to overlook your check when you’re quickly sorting junk mail from the important mail.
To check through your mail again, you’ll want to take it piece by piece.
This can become bothersome, especially when you have a stack of ads to sift through.
While sorting, be sure to put the junk mail in one clear pile and important mail in another.
There’s a chance that your check got slipped between some ads.
It’s also worth checking your trash if you still have it to ensure you didn’t miss your check from a previous batch of mail, too.
Once you’ve checked through everything and still haven’t found it, then you’re able to take the next step.
2. Check With Employer To Determine Check’s Status
Even though you may have become used to receiving your check on a certain day, it doesn’t always mean you’re always going to receive your check on that day.
Sometimes an employer might be a day late in posting the mail.
That’s why you should next check to see if your employer even posted the check.
There could have been a mistake or your employer may have been unable to post checks on the day that they usually do.
Things happen and sometimes people aren’t able to be as efficient as they’d like.
By checking with your employer, you can determine whether they sent your check at all.
If not, then you know that they just haven’t gotten around to it yet.
Your check isn’t missing, it’s just on the way to you.
You can also determine if there was a delay on your employer’s behalf.
Your check is coming, but it might not show up in your mail for another day or two.
If your employer did send out your check, then you know there might be a problem.
Confirming with your employer about the status of your check can be a great way to narrow down the possible reason your check is missing.
3. Wait A Few Days
While the mailing system is usually quite efficient, there are always some delays that can occur.
Weather, traffic, vehicle problems, and even labor shortages can cause a delay in receiving your mail.
There’s also a chance that a holiday occurred within the week that the USPS took off.
If that’s the case, then your mail may have a delay of a day or more on it.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is wait a few days.
At most, you should wait five days for your check to arrive.
If it still hasn’t arrived by then, then something is clearly wrong.
However, you need to give the USPS a chance to get the mail to you.
As mentioned before, you can’t expect your mail to always arrive on the same day.
4. Inform The USPS
At the end of five or so days, if your check still hasn’t arrived, it’s time to inform the USPS.
You should contact your local post office and inform them about the missing piece of mail.
The USPS doesn’t track first class mail or other types of mail.
At the very least, they don’t provide that sort of information to the public.
That’s because the USPS handles a lot of mail that contains private and sensitive information.
If they were to have tracking information made public, then criminals would be able to know where postal trucks were at any given point.
This would then grant them the opportunity to seize a truck and steal the mail that contains sensitive information.
That said, the USPS does have a few tracking systems for themselves.
They can use these to potentially get an idea of where your check may have gone.
When calling the postal service, you’ll need to provide them with some information about the piece of mail that’s missing.
The address it’s supposed to go to and where it came from can help them get an idea of where it might have gone.
There’s also another thing you can do that can help the USPS potentially locate your missing check.
5. Determine If Your Check Had Tracking Information
Sometimes employers will use a specific type of mail that enables them to track their mail.
At the very least, it allows the USPS to track the mail.
When your check goes missing, you should check with your employer to determine if they use a class that includes tracking.
If so, then you should obtain that tracking information and give it to the USPS.
The USPS can then use that information to find out where the mail was last sorted.
They can contact the employees at that facility who can then search the area for the check.
They’ll be able to look into their own records to determine if it was improperly sorted or if it got stuck somewhere.
There’s always a chance that it fell through the seats of a mail carrier’s truck or that it got stuck in a bin somewhere.
If the employees at the facility find it, then they can send it along to the proper address.
They usually make it a priority order at no extra cost to you to help speed it along.
Having tracking information for your mail can be a great help when a check goes missing.
However, not all employees use this type of class of mail or service.
If your employer doesn’t, then it might be worth mentioning if you find yourself in this situation again.
6. Contact The Bank
The next important step to take if your check goes missing in the mail is to contact your bank.
You’ll need to get some information from your employer to help the bank put a stop payment on it.
First, you’ll need to know the check number.
Your employer can provide you with this information.
The bank will also want to know when your employer sent the check out in the mail.
You can also get this information from your employer.
Another important thing that they’ll want to know is how much the check was for.
All this information helps them know exactly when an attempt to cash the check occurs.
They’re able to stop the payment from occurring.
This means that the employer doesn’t lose out on money and you don’t miss out on your payment.
Since, in this event, it’s likely that someone stole your check, they won’t be able to access the money either.
Even more, it can alert the bank to a possible attempt to cash the check.
The bank can then give those details to the authorities who can hopefully trace it back to the thief.
The bank might also ask for a few more details concerning the check, so it’s a good idea to get all the information you can from your employer about it.
Putting a stop payment on your check is a great way to ensure no one loses out on money and no one gains money illegally.
It’s also worth mentioning that you’ll probably have to pay for this service.
Depending on the bank, you might need to pay $20 or $30.
That’s because the bank is using resources to hunt down this particular check and ensure it isn’t cashed.
7. Inform Employer To Stop Payment
If you haven’t spoken to your employer yet about the missing check, then this is the time that you really need to.
Besides putting a stop payment on your end, they also need to put a stop payment on their end.
However, they won’t know that they need to do this until you inform them about the situation.
The employer might have a few questions for you, but they’ll appreciate you telling them about the problem.
To ensure they don’t lose money, they can then go to their bank and put a stop payment on the check.
With both stop payments in place, it will be virtually impossible for the thief to cash the check.
Making your employer aware of the situation and allowing them to put a stop payment on the check enables you for the next step that you need to take.
8. Request New Check
At this point, you need to request a new check from your employer.
They owe you payment, so they can’t deny the request.
An employer will usually offer two options.
The first is to send a new check immediately.
Sometimes the employer will pay for priority shipping or tracking to ensure that this check gets to you fast and without problems.
If the check goes missing again, at least it will have the tracking information tied to it to help the USPS determine what’s going on.
The second thing that an employer might offer is to wait until your next check.
In this case, your check will be doubled since it will include two rounds of payment.
Since that isn’t always a viable solution for people living paycheck to paycheck, you’ll obviously want to opt for the first choice.
At the very least, you should request a new check from your employer.
In most cases, you won’t need to request at all since it happens automatically when the employer becomes aware of the problem.
However, it’s still worth mentioning to ensure the employer is taking those steps.
9. Contact Law Enforcement
Although missing mail isn’t exactly an emergency, it’s worth mentioning to the police.
This is especially true if you find yourself missing your checks often.
It could mean that there’s a criminal in your area stealing people’s mail.
You’re likely not the only victim either.
By making the police aware of the situation, they can start to monitor the issue.
They may even be able to catch the thief which means you won’t have to worry about missing checks for a long time.
Keep in mind that it isn’t an emergency, so you shouldn’t use the emergency lines to report the problem.
Even a casual visit to the station can suffice.
10. Suggest New Payment Method
A final thing you should do when your check goes missing in the mail is to suggest a new payment method to your employer.
Receiving checks in the mail is archaic and slow.
You can ask for a different method of payment.
For example, you might ask that you receive your checks in person if you work in an office.
This eliminates the need for the USPS.
You can get your check directly from your boss and have it in your pocket on payday.
Your employer should also consider implementing direct deposit to your banks.
In this case, you’re able to skip the check process entirely.
Your payment goes directly into your bank as soon as it clears.
Finally, you can always rely on other payment platforms like Venmo or PayPal.
This is another electronic means of payment that allows you to get your money faster and more reliably.
You can then use that money to deposit in your bank or even fill your credit or debit cards, depending on what app you use.
By switching your employer’s payment method, you no longer have to worry about missing checks in the mail again.
Why Is Your Check Missing In The Mail?
Following the steps above can help you handle a situation where your check goes missing in the mail, but you may wonder why your check is missing in the first place.
Here are a few reasons your check might be missing.
1. Delayed Mail
One reason that your check might be missing is that the USPS is facing delays.
There could be any number of reasons the USPS might be dealing with a delay.
Bad weather is one of them.
During the winter, tornado season, and even the hurricane season, the USPS faces some serious problems.
It can be difficult to navigate the roads if they’re filled with debris and fallen trees.
During winter, the roads might be too icy or blocked with snow.
The mail carriers might need to wait for someone to clear the roads or put salt down.
In terms of storm damage, they might need to wait until the county removes the trees from the road.
Even something as simple as a violent thunderstorm can delay the USPS.
If it’s not safe to drive outside, then they have to take cover until it is safe to drive.
Unfortunately, this means that the mail might face a delay of a day or even several days.
Another big delay that they might face is traffic and broken-down trucks.
Since the USPS has a very tight budget, they’re relying on very old vehicles to get them around.
It’s only inevitable that the truck is going to break down.
When that happens, the mail has to go on a different truck.
Since that carrier already has their own route, they then have to cover an additional route.
They may not be able to in the time allotted for them to deliver mail.
As such, the mail faces a delay.
Your check may not have arrived yet because of delays on the USPS end.
2. Employer Delays
It’s not only the USPS that may be causing a delay for your check to arrive.
Your employer might also be to blame.
Your employer likely handles tons of different paychecks on payday.
Because of that, it takes time to write out all the checks and prepare them for delivery.
Other things might occur, too, that delay them from being able to make it to the post office in time.
If they simply put their mail in the mailbox, then they might not have arrived in time to put it in the box before the carrier arrives.
Problems in their personal life might also be causing a delay.
If they have a newborn baby, for example, then they might have been up all night with the baby.
They may not have had the time to write out everyone’s checks.
As such, they might not have put the mail in the box until the following day.
If any other delays occur in the process, then your check might not show up for a few days.
The employer can also cause your check to go missing for a few days if they didn’t get it into the mail on schedule.
Perhaps the most annoying and scariest reason your check is missing is theft.
While it’s difficult for thieves to cash checks made out to someone else, it isn’t impossible.
To an experienced thief, they can get a bank to cash the check and end up with a nice payday for themselves.
The money they earn is worth the risk in their eyes.
The problem with theft is that you have no idea where in the pipeline it occurred.
Did someone steal it out of the box after your employer mailed all your checks?
Did someone at one of the sorting facilities steal it?
Could someone have stolen it right from out of your mailbox?
Finding the thief can be difficult unless they try to cash it.
To ensure they don’t get your money, you should put a stop payment through your bank as soon as you suspect that your check is missing.
Having a check go missing isn’t an enjoyable affair.
There are several steps you should follow to ensure you either get the check or keep someone else from taking your money.
Your check could be missing for any of several reasons, but the most serious is theft.