On the upside, however, you may still use checks to move money from A to В without a record of use to anyone being created by this. One example is that you may move money into a secret, offshore bank account a lot easier than going there in person by sending checks to the bank – as long as you use cashier’s checks that you have obtained without disclosing your identity or presenting any ID whatsoever. One enterprising young man (who shall remain nameless) owns and operates a small chain of electronics stores in, well, a country somewhere in the Western hemisphere. He is able to save quite a bit of cash from the turnover of his business. This not only saves him a bundle on taxes but also makes his business seem “a-bit-less-lucrative-than- average”. Thus it does not inspire the envy of his labor union employees and his local tax assessors.
Not being stupid, he does not keep the skimmed-off proceeds under his mattress nor in a bank in his own country. Instead, he maintains an ever-growing account with a bank in a country with strict bank secrecy laws And about once a month, he travels a few hundred miles around his own country, walking into various banks and purchasing cashier’s checks made out to a fictional person with a common name. He has one piece of ID to support this name, to be used only if absolutely necessary This shows him to be a foreigner, resident in a very respectable (non-South American) country. He then endorses these checks twice, first with an indecipherable signature, then with his own and mails them to his bank which happily credits his account in an attempt to throw anyone off the trail who might later claim that he has made both endorsements himself, he makes the first endorsement in black ink, using a fountain pen • and the second one, “his own” (the one his bankers will recognize, anyway), in blue with an ordinary, cheap ballpoint-pen. Reason; it is harder to compare two different signatures to see if tl*cy were by the same person if they have been made using writing instruments that differ in nature. Depending on the grip of the owner, the tip of a fountain pen takes on a certain angle with prolonged use by the same person (this is why you should never lend your expensive fountain pen to anyone lest the tip gets ruined) affecting the calligraphic characteristics of the writing. A ballpoint pen does not change its characteristics, regardless of who uses it.
This almost effortless exercise works to ensure that no record is maintained at the bank he uses for his business and private affairs to the effect that he has moved money out of the country. A number of banks in different cities in the same country will merely have microfilm copies of small checks made out to a Mr This-And-That (This-And-That being a very common name in said country) that have later been cashed in a different country. The amounts are small – less than US $1000 per check. Sounds like too little? It is not. Spend perhaps two or three hours walking into ten different banks with a wad of cash and the net result is cashier’s checks worth a total of US $10,000. Do that once a month and the annual total comes to US $120,000. Or once a week for one year and you end up with a respectable US $520,000 moved anonymously, without a record of who bought the checks. Not as fast nor as good as going there in person – but cheaper. The only additional expense being a few buck’s worth of envelopes and stamps.
An added bonus is that the exchange rate on a cashier’s check is much closer to the “true” exchange rate than you will get for cash. You should routinely expect to be stiffed anywhere from 2 per cent to a whopping 7 per cent on small amounts of cash, calculating the span between what banks will offer you for cash as opposed to checks.
The trick for you now, of course, is to find out whether and where you can buy cashier’s checks without having to present some sort of identification. Banking laws differ between countries and even within the same country, individual branches may have varying policies – sometimes even depending on whether the cashier is aware of any local, legal requirement that he ask to see some ID.
You may try this out for yourself the next time you have to renew a magazine subscription, repay a small loan to a friend or similar. Walk into any bank and ask to buy a cashier’s check. See what they say. If you wish, you may do so at your “own” bank. If then asked whether you are a customer, you may truthfully answer “yes”, then inquire subtly about the bank’s policy. Will it make out cashier’s checks to non-customers and, if so, on what conditions. “Is it legal or possible to buy a cashier’s check without showing any ID?” and so forth. Work the angles and try different banks to find out the full range of opportunities open to you, the best being to buy a bank draft payable in the country of your bank in the currency you need, without being a customer and without showing any ГО whatsoever. Also probe the limits to see exactly how big a check you can get at any one time without being a customer and with no ID. If you are going to move very large amounts of money, it is advisable to buy cashier’s checks in a different city or even part of the country to minimize the risk of being recognized later (especially if you are a local hero or otherwise well-known). You do not need gossip from a bored bank clerk to her brother-in-law tax collector to set the IRS or the Inland Revenue on your trail.
OUR BEST TIP: Use the American Express Bank or the American Express office in your country. Nearly every country has a branch. There, you can buy US‘dollar cashier’s checks and money orders. Each carries an upper limit of US $200, so you may have to
buy several (which is allowed and perfectly normal). None requires showing of any ID whatsoever, although this may change in the years to come.
A couple of extra notes on checks – be they regular or cashier’s. First of all, limit your own use of checks (save those darling cashier’s checks – if you can find a way of buying them without showing any ID) and set it as a goal to cut all the way down to zero as soon as possible. Second, make sure that you personally – have put yourself in a position to take advantage of the information offered to you on a silver platter by anyone paying you by check. As previously discussed you should take a photocopy of any check you receive before depositing it (except, of course, if you receive an awful lot of teeny-weeny little checks in the mail in response to a mail offer of some very cheap item.