We are issuing this PSA to our members not only because of the elevated risk, but also because our members have encountered these crimes firsthand. Between 2021 and 2022, the US Postal Service reported that mail theft almost doubled. We are advising our members to never leave checks in your mailbox with the flag up. If you must mail a check, drive it to the post office and put it in the outgoing mail inside the building. Do not use the outdoor blue mailboxes, as those have seen an uptick in vandalism, as well.
Criminals are taking sophisticated steps to wash checks—stealing them from the mail and changing the payee’s name and payment amount—and depositing them into accounts or attempting to cash them.
Some criminals are going further and using the information found on a check to gather sensitive personal data on a potential victim. There have been reports of criminals committing identity theft using personal data obtained from a check, or even opening new lines of credit or businesses with that data as well. This allows fraudsters to create new checks using old account data.