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  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , check washing, mail theft,   

    Don’t leave your outgoing bills in your mailbox 

    Don't leave your outgoing bills in your mailbox

    When we talk about scams, we mostly warn our readers about online or phone scams. The reason these scams are so prolific is that everyone has a smartphone and a lot of people use weak passwords on their accounts. However, that doesn’t mean that analog scams have disappeared. One such scam recently turned up in reports that use one of the oldest forms of communication in the US to find victims, good old fashioned snail mail. We all know that tampering with someone’s postal mail is a federal offense, but it hasn’t stopped some scammers from taking that risk.

    A couple in Alabama recently found that someone had accessed their bank account and several unauthorized payments were made from their account. They weren’t the victims of any kind of electronic fraud. Instead, someone had stolen their outgoing mail from their mailbox. In that mail were a few bills that they were paying by check. The scammers are then said to have committed what is known as check washing. Check washing is when someone dips an already written or even canceled check in chemicals and removes the handwritten ink from the check. They then put in whatever information on the check that they need. As long as there is enough money in the account the check can be cashed.

    There are ways to prevent check washing from happening. The first is to switch to electronic payments to pay your bills. However, if for whatever reason you have to write checks, there are special pens that you can buy that are resistant to check washing. Instead of leaving outgoing mail in your home mailbox, you may want to take it to the post office instead so you know it gets into the hands of the US Postal Service.

    With a number of relatives writing checks to send as Christmas gifts, this time of year could be especially bad for stolen checks. If you have an older relative that may not be able to get to the post office, offer to take their bills to the post office for them. It’s a little inconvenience for peace of mind.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on December 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Informed Delivery, mail theft, ,   

    Help prevent porch pirates with this free service 

    Help prevent porch pirates with this free service

    Mail theft is an ongoing problem that has been on the rise over the past decade with the increase in online purchasing. These thieves have been dubbed ‘porch pirates’ for the way they pilfer packages that have been left on your porch or doorstep by your mail carrier. Even if you have the latest security or doorbell cameras, that might not be enough as in some locales police might not have the time and manpower to pursue any purloined packages. However, you don’t have to go as far as building your own NASA-engineered glitter bomb to help prevent package theft, but you can sign up for a free prevention service provided by the US Postal Service.

    USPS provides a service known as Informed Delivery service. All you need to do is to go to the USPS website and sign up for the service. It only takes a few minutes to register your address. Once registered, the USPS will start providing you with emails that contained scanned copies of the mail you’ll be receiving that day. That way you can be on the lookout for important and valuable mail and have a record of it in case it turns up missing.

    However, as shown by the video above, porch pirates can use this service to their advantage as well. If they’ve signed up for the service in your name, the emails from the USPS could be sent to thief’s email instead of yours. As has been mentioned, this service provided by the Post Office is free and could save you from a potentially disastrous situation. Isn’t that worth the price of just a few extra emails a week? It’s not just good for the holiday season but for all year-long.

     
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