Be Scam Aware: Prevent this from happening to you
In recent months we have seen an uptick in mail theft in our area. How it Works: Criminals steal mail from mail drops and residential mailboxes. They will then “wash” the stolen checks with basic household chemicals that can dissolve many kinds of ink. This allows them to write the check out to whomever they want, change the dollar amount, and forge the signature.
Please note: The criminals might recruit people experiencing a time of financial hardship to serve as “runners” who will deposit the forged check, then withdraw the money to give it to the criminals (minus a portion for themselves). This is acting as a Money Mule, and it is a crime whether done intentionally or not.
Tips to Keep Your Mail Secure:
- Deposit mail in collection boxes as close to the indicated pickup time as possible — or bring it inside the post office for mailing
- If you choose to leave outgoing mail in your mailbox, don’t put up the flag
- Try not to leave incoming or outgoing mail sitting in your mailbox for an extended time, particularly overnight
- Sign up for Informed Delivery. With this free service, the USPS will email you images of everything that will be delivered to your home that day, so you’ll know what to expect (and what’s missing when the carrier drops off your mail).
- Use the USPS Hold Mail service (you can sign up online) if you’ll be away from home, or have a neighbor collect your mail.
Tips to Keep Your Checks Secure:
- Enroll in Online Bill Pay to eliminate the need to mail checks. To enroll in TCT's Online Bill Pay service, simply login to Online/Mobile Banking and click on Pay Bills to get started.
- When making out a check, write out the amount — “One hundred and twenty dollars and ten cents,” for example — so the words fill out the line. This makes it more difficult for someone to alter it without washing off the ink. Also make sure the numeric amount fills the box on the far-right side of the check.
- Keep an eye on your bank or credit union accounts for potential fraud and report suspicious activity as soon as possible.
If you think your mail has been stolen:
- Notify your bank or credit union.
- Contact an NXG Identity Theft Advocate to review your credit if you have a TCT Peace of Mind Checking account.
- Report suspected mail losses to the USPIS, which uses such reports to identify problem areas and where to focus crime investigations, at uspis.gov/report, or by calling 877-876-2455.?
- Report the theft to local law enforcement so you’ll have a police report documenting the crime.
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