Be wary of mailbox theft and check washing activity
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office has received reports of checks being stolen from mailboxes. These checks are then washed with ink-removing chemicals and rewritten to a new payee for large amounts of money.
CCSO offers the tips to help prevent becoming a victim of mail theft/check washing.
- Bank online. Refrain from mailing checks, cash, gift cards or other negotiable items if possible. Check with your bank’s online services as most offer secure and easy-to-use phone apps.
- If you must send a check in the mail, use a gel pen to write checks as ballpoint pen ink can be easily washed off a check.
- Drop off mail at the post office. Take mail containing checks directly to the post office counter to be mailed, and record the names of the postal employees who take the check in case an issue arises later on.
- Use plain white envelopes to mail checks. Do not use return envelopes with the utility logo or municipality for tax payments on them. These tend to be easy targets for thieves.
- Monitor bank activity. Check bank activity online and review bank statements as soon as they are received to check for discrepancies.
- If you see something, say something. Be sure to call 911 if you see any suspicious activity near any mailbox.
- Report the theft. If you have been a victim of mail theft, call the United States Postal Inspectors Service at 877-876-2455 and choose option 4.