Recently my Home Owners Association put out an email warning residents of people stealing mail out of the boxes. Early morning walkers discovered mail in people’s yards. The United States Post Office warns that this type of thing is on the rise. Thieves look for flags up in a neighborhood because the mailbox may have out going checks. Thieves will then wash the stolen checks with a basic household chemical that can dissolve many kinds of ink. This allows them to make the check out to whomever they want, change the dollar amount and then forge the signature of the victim.
How do you keep your mail secure? The safest thing is to take your mail to a USPS office or put the mail in the box as close to the time of pick up as possible. The problem with that is the pick up time may not be consistent each day. If you do put mail in the mailbox for pickup, don’t put the flag up. Sign up for Informed Delivery with the USPS as you will know what to expect to be delivered that day. It is free and you can go to USPS.gov to sign up. If the mail that is on your Informed Delivery notice does not show up, report it to your local USPS office. If you are going to be gone use the USPS Hold Mail service and the USPS will hold your mail until the day that you want the mail to start back up. If you don’t do that you may want a trusted neighbor to get your mail while you are gone. Keep a close watch on your bank account to spot for possible fraud and finally when you make out your checks make sure that the line where you are writing the amount goes all the way across the line so that it makes it harder for them to change the amount.and make sure the numeric amount fill the box on the right side of the check.