Focus on Fraud: Mail Theft on the Rise -Tips to Avoid Being a Victim

Feb 29, 2024 | Business, Core Bank, Personal


​Criminals are always on the lookout to scam their next victim. Their goal is to get a hold of your hard-earned money. So how do you avoid scams and theft while keeping your money safe? Here we will focus on the latest – mail theft, which sounds surprising with the rise of technology and online scams.

  • Do not use the mailbox flag indicator for outgoing mail ready for pickup. Thieves see this as an easy notification that there is outgoing mail, frequently checks for paying bills that they can then wash and alter. It is best to leave it down and let the post office worker determine if it should be sent.
  • Hand deliver mail to your local post office whenever possible. The post office will accept any mail to be hand delivered to their post office to be mailed out instead of them picking it up from drop boxes or mailboxes.
  • Pick up mail daily. Leaving mail that could contain checks, bills, or other personal or business details sit in the mailboxes could lead to fraud if information falls into the wrong hands.
  • Sign up for informed delivery by USPS. It is a free service that will send you an image of the item(s) you will be receiving in the mail that day, or the next couple of days. This will give you an idea if you ever do have mail that is stolen from your mailbox.
  • Alert USPS if you will be traveling to hold mail. The post office will hold any mail until you return, this would prevent mail from piling up in your box and being an easy target for thieves.
  • Set up change of address through USPS and mail forwarding. If moving, promptly change your address with USPS and establish a forwarding notice for your mail to be delivered to your new address.
  • USPS Blue boxes are not 100% safe. Mail thieves can use “fishing” devices which is usually a string or wire with an object taped on the end that has a glue-like or sticky substance on it that mail will stick to and be retrieved. Each blue box should have a designated pickup time(s) posted on the box; it is best to get as close as possible to that time to drop off your mail, leaving less time for the box to become compromised.

When possible, you can skip the mailbox and use Core Bank’s Business Online Services. If you suspect you or your business is a victim of mail theft report it to your bank and the USPIS (United States Postal Inspection Service) as soon as possible. By reporting to USPIS, this may locate other nearby mail customers that could have been victims as well. This information helps law enforcement tie financial fraud to mail theft in the area, and the USPS to inspect any nearby mailboxes for tampering.