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How to Protect Your Checks and Identity From Mail Fraud

Woman looking at mail

While online scams seem to be the thing these days, many fraudsters still like the old-fashioned way – through the mail. Read on to find out how to keep your checks (and your identity) out of the wrong hands.

How does check fraud even happen?

Fraudsters raid your home mailbox for checks – the ones you’re getting, as well as any you may be sending out to pay bills, for example. They even use stolen keys to break into those blue USPS mailboxes you see on street corners around the neighborhood.

Then they simply wipe names and payment amounts off the checks, a dirty trick known as check washing. Scammers keep the checks for themselves or sell them on the “dark web,” a hidden part of the internet (only accessible through dedicated software) that’s a hub for crime.

Easy ways to prevent check-related mail fraud
  • Deposit mail directly at the post office or in USPS blue mailboxes right before the final pickup of the day.
  • Never leave mail in your mailbox overnight and put a hold on your mail if you’re headed out of town.
  • Skip the mailbox altogether with digital banking – an easy, secure way to pay bills and send or request money among family and friends.
  • Remember, you can use our easy, encrypted mobile deposit to deposit checks right from your smartphone.

Help us spread the word – because together, we can fight fraud! And if you think you’ve been a victim of mail fraud or your personal information has been compromised, get in touch with your financial institution right away. Summit members, we’re here to help at 800-236-5560.

Want more fraud-fighting tips?

Keep exploring more ways to spot and stop a scam.
 

Sources:
United States Postal Inspection Service
NPR.org

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