Mailbox fishing scams have increased across the Northeast, and unfortunately they’ve made their way to Cape Cod. The scam generally takes place at USPS drop boxes, the blue mailboxes with the pull-down drop door.
The pull-down door on the USPS mailboxes makes it far too easy for criminals to fish out your mail. There are several ways a criminal can attempt to steal mail. One commonly used method is attaching a piece of string to a rodent trap or bottle with glue covering it. After obtaining the stolen mail, a criminal will sift through it and look for checks, cash, and gift cards. According to an article by NBC news, if a criminal finds a check, they will often use household cleaning products to wash the ink off. Then, the criminal can write a new name on the check and change the value to whatever they want.
Many USPS locations are upgrading the blue drop boxes to replace the pull-down door with a narrow slot to minimize the risk of mailbox fishing. In the meantime, USPS has listed several tips to help protect yourself from falling victim to mail fishing scams:
- Deposit mail close to pick-up time
- Take your mail inside the post office
- Inquire about overdue mail
- Do not send cash
- Arrange for prompt pickup
- Use hold for pickup
- Request signature confirmation
Remember, instead of mailing checks, you can pay your bills securely through your online bank account, too.