February 27, 2024

Native Information

Checks are being stolen out of mailboxes in Winthrop and doubtlessly altered utilizing chemical substances.

A USPS mailbox. John Minchillo/Related Press

There have been a number of studies in Winthrop of checks being taken out of the mail, altered, and used fraudulently, in response to police. 

The Winthrop Police Division acquired six such studies just lately, in response to a launch. Each sufferer who has contacted the division has mentioned that they deposited envelopes with checks inside into considered one of two mailboxes: in entrance of the Submit Workplace at Michael’s Mall and close to the intersection of Hermon and Centre streets. 

The victims had been contacted by their banks and alerted to doubtlessly fraudulent exercise. They acquired copies of altered checks that they didn’t make out, police mentioned. 

The method is called “verify washing.” Scams like this contain altering the payee’s identify and the greenback quantities on a verify, in response to the USA Postal Inspection Service. Typically, checks are stolen out of mailboxes and washed in particular chemical substances to take away ink and permit scammers to write down on them. Some criminals use copiers or scanners to print faux copies of a verify. 

“Test washing is a standard scheme by which suspects take legit checks out of the mail, alter them, after which try to money them fraudulently,” Winthrop Police Chief Terence Delehanty mentioned in an announcement. “I encourage residents who’re mailing checks to take their checks straight into the Submit Workplace as we proceed to research these crimes.”

Greater than $1 billion in counterfeit checks and cash orders are recovered annually, in response to postal inspectors. 

Anybody who believes they could have had mail stolen or checks fraudulently cashed is urged to contact Winthrop police by calling 617-846-1212.

Officers supplied the next tricks to keep away from being scammed:

  • Use black, gel pens when filling out checks. Black, gel ink might be harder to clean off of a verify.
  • Don’t mail checks by way of your residential mailbox, or another insecure mailbox. It is strongly recommended that any checks be mailed solely in blue, Postal Service mailboxes, or that they’re delivered in hand contained in the Submit Workplace.
  • Shred or burn canceled checks. Don’t throw checks within the trash.
  • Test your financial institution statements typically. Some banks will solely reimburse funds misplaced to fraud if the fraud is reported to the financial institution inside 30 days. 
  • Don’t danger sending money within the mail.