If you still write checks, it’s always super tempting to write something silly in the “Notes” line, like “Tickets to Narnia” or “For Squirrel Parade.” Bruce Francis wasn’t trying to be funny or clever when he wrote his dog’s name on a check to his dog walker, and he definitely wasn’t trying to get flagged as a possible terrorist, but that’s exactly what happened.
Francis has a rare form of multiple sclerosis, so he relies on a dog walker to help him with Dash, his 9-year-old service dog. When he paid the dog walker using his online account with Chase Bank, he typed Dash’s name in the “Notes” section, which caught the attention of the U.S. Treasury.
According to KTVU, Chase Bank stopped payment on the check, and the word “Dash” was flagged by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a department of the Treasury. Why? Because someone thought that Dash was a little too similar to Daesh, an alternate name for ISIS.
— Monte Francis (@MonteReports) March 26, 2016
The San Francisco, California man had to call OFAC to explain the transaction and tell them that no, he was not part of the Islamic State, he was just taking care of his dog.
“If a name on the OFAC list appears on a payment, we are required to review it,” a Chase spokesperson told KTVU. “This is an important part of ensuring that crime does not filter through the U.S. banking system. In this instance, the payment was flagged, reviewed and eventually released.”
Despite the strange scenario, Francis says he both understands and appreciates what the bank and OFAC did.
“I think anything we can do to stop the terrorists and the funding of terrorists, let’s do it,” he said. “And if it means an inconvenience to me and my dog walker, then that’s a price I’m totally willing to pay.”
Just don’t write a check for it.