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Tips From the Eastchester Police on How to Avoid Mailbox Fishing

A message from the Eastchester Police:

The Eastchester Police Department would like to alert our residents and merchants of a criminal scheme that is being carried out throughout the nation and has recently occurred in our town and other local jurisdictions.

The scheme relates to “Mailbox Fishing” and “Check Washing”. Simply explained, criminals are “fishing” mail, mainly out of U.S. Postal Service mailboxes (mailboxes on the street) in hopes of discovering outgoing bills with checks that have been sent in the mail. They then “wash” the information from the payee, amount, and/or signature section of the check and change this information before cashing the checks at local bank branches. Our Department has recently made several arrests of individuals attempting to cash altered/washed checks and we have had a report of “fishing” occurring at one or more mailboxes in our jurisdiction .

A few precautions that may be taken to avoid becoming a victim of this criminal scheme are:

· Use a secure computer for online banking to pay bills

· Use the mail slot inside the Post Office to avoid having your outgoing bills removed from a mailbox

· If using a USPS mailbox, place mail in the box early in the day (prior to last pickup)

· Do not leave mailed checks in the mailbox overnight or over the weekend

· When writing out checks, use a gel ink pen (preferably black) to permeate the fibers in the check

· Review your bank statements immediately

· Inform your local Police Department of suspicious or fraudulent activity involving your checks/identity

Our department has been and will continue to work closely with U.S. Postal Inspectors to investigate these crimes. If you see individuals acting suspiciously near USPS mailboxes in the evening or overnight hours, please contact our Department at (914)961-3464 immediately. Any further information that would assist in these investigations should be forwarded to our Detective Division at (914)961-3464.

Further information regarding “Check Washing” and other fraudulent activity may be found at the following Experian link: http://www.protectmyid.com/identity-theft-protection-resources/types-of-fraud/check-washing.aspx

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