Be Aware of this Postal Service Check Scam Reported in Delaware
Countless Delaware residents have made reports of stolen checks, plagiarized checks, mail theft, and cashed checks for wrong amounts. There have been reports of checks that were made out to utility companies, completely erased and re-written to pay a personal account for a larger amount than what was originally written. Some checks would be triple or even ten times the amount of which they were originally written. Countless posts on the Nextdoor social media app have been very similar in style, describing how their checks were faulty and tampered with.
And it’s not just happening in Delaware.
Across the country, what has become known as mailbox fishing and check washing has become a nationwide problem. Thieves are stealing checks being sent in the mail and using a certain chemical to wash away the ink on the check so that they can replace the name and amount the check is issued for, whilst keeping the original signature.
Some checks have been caught in the act due to suspicious activity in their bank accounts, but some are so subtle that they have gone under the radar until they get a report saying they’ve missed their utility payment. Banks and financial institutions have recommended keeping a close eye on their bank accounts, ensuring their bank activity is solely their own. They have also recommended not mailing any checks, and paying bills online, or in person handing the check directly over to the company or person you’re paying. Keeping a checkbook of dates and payments can also show which checks have gone haywire.
Other ways to prevent this U.S. Postal Service check scam is to use gel pens with inedible ink. This certain ink “cannot be washed” according to Axios. Banks have actually begun hiring more in check processing teams, and have started to point the fingers at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to hold their mail carriers accountable and to do more serious investigations when these problems arise.
Stealing mail is a felony and can result in a sentence of five years in federal prison, along with a large fine. Check washing is also a felony and can result in jail time.