Outgoing mail is being stolen from drop boxes by thieves who use an acid based mixture to dilute the ink on personal checks and rewrite them to another recipient. The process is known as check washing and accounts for more than $815 million in fraud annually.  The criminal can alter the payee information and amount, then take a picture of the check and cash it electronically or at the bank.


The NYPD recommends bringing all outgoing mail to the post office to prevent it from being fished out of the mailbox and using gel pens that are less likely to wash off. Review bank and credit card statements frequently to make sure there are no unauthorized charges or checks written to somebody whose name you do not recognize.


Tampering with the mail is a crime. Report any incident to United States Postal Service Inspector at 877-876-2455 or call 9-1-1.

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