By Ryan Yousefi
In response to the increase in theft incidents involving mailed checks, the Coral Springs Police Department urges residents to exercise caution and opt for secure mail drops within local post offices.
This advisory comes as law enforcement and postal services nationwide have recently been confronted with a surge in criminal activities targeting letter carriers and public mailboxes, particularly those recognizable blue USPS collection boxes.
Despite the decreasing trend in check usage, with Americans writing 3.4 billion checks in 2022 compared to 19 billion in 1990, thieves still take advantage of what’s left to commit fraud.
More than just a mailbox crime, USPS recently called to attention a rise in attacks on both letter carriers and mail fraud incidents, with 305 mail carriers robbed in the first half of this year, poised to surpass the previous year’s figure of 412 robberies.
To CSPD’s point, criminals have begun more frequently targeting mailboxes, often using stolen USPS keys to access mail collection boxes.
Once the check is in a criminal’s hand, they employ a method known as the “check washing” scheme that entails using chemicals to remove the original writing on a check, including the recipient’s name and the specified amount.
With the payment rendered blank, criminals can insert new information, including entering new, much higher dollar amounts.
In response to the schemes, the USPS advises Americans to refrain from depositing mail in blue collection boxes or leaving it in their mailboxes for carrier pickup. Instead, the agency recommends patrons visit their local post offices to send mail securely, hand it directly to a mail carrier, or mail it from work.
- Ryan Yousefi has lived in Coral Springs for over 30 years. He has worked as a writer for multiple outlets over the years, including the Miami New Times where he has covered sports and culture since 2013. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Business Healthcare Management from Western Governors University.
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