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Did Someone at Navient Steal the Payoff Check? – MJ

Written by Steve Rhode


Dear Steve,

I am a co-signer for a student loan. The person I signed for actually sent a lump-sum payment to Navient and Navient claims it was never received. Even though the amount was supposedly taken out of the bank account. We are under the impression an employee stole the check. The person I signed for has obtained legal representation. However, I, and my family, are the ones being harassed by Navient, despite the lawyer’s communications with the company to cease.

Am I automatically covered with this lawyer in this scenario? Or do I need my own?



Dear MJ,

First thing I would do would be to take a deep breath. There may be a perfectly reasonable explanation here and some easy items you can check.

First, if the money was sent as a check then the person who sent it can confirm if the check was actually cashed. If the check sent was an official bank check or cashiers check then the bank can confirm if the check was cashed.

If there is no evidence that the check was cashed then the bank can assist you with some process to terminate the check and issue a repayment.

Was this missing check sent by some sort of traceable means like express or priority mail? If so then you would be able to confirm if the check actually arrived using the tracking number.

But even if the check arrived and was not cashed, it could quite possibly just be lost internally and need to be reissued.

It’s a bit of a red flag that the person you signed for has hired a lawyer when the situation you describe could have an innocent explanation.

But let’s say you had proof that the check was received and cashed, but not credited to the account. In that case I would urge you to contact Navient Office of the Consumer Advocate and ask them to help you solve the mystery.

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If they actually found that an employee stole the check, Navient will actively participate with you to get this issue resolved. No major company like Navient has patience for theft. It’s just that I’m not yet convinced there has been a theft.

As far as you being covered by the lawyer the person you signed for hired, no they don’t represent you. The lawyer represents the person who engaged them but you can also ask the attorney if they will specifically represent you in addition to the other person.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


  • Hi Steve,

    ALL companies that cash paper checks print a line of code on the back of the check to identify when and how it was processed. This will allow them to find the payment and apply it correctly. One must understand that large corporations receive MILLIONS of checks and much of the processing is automated and so posting errors do occur. In addition to the information printed on the check by the company, the bank also imprints information on the back of the check that will allow them to determine what account the check was cashed to, so if it was actually cashed by an individual, it is easily tracked. Because of this, it is HIGHLY doubtful someone stole the check. It is impossible to get it cashed with no record.

    My advice to the borrower is to 1. get a copy of the front and back of the check from the Bank, 2. Call Navient and provide the check copies. They will be able to determine if they did cash the check, and if so, what account the payment was posted to. I find it really odd that this has escalated to lawyers at this point, given the commonality of checks getting posted incorrectly in automated payment processing, and the many steps included in the process to track payments. My experience in the payment processing industry smells a rat.

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