The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is reminding residents to consider a few safety tips before making a decision to leave mail in mailbox. Several weeks ago, officers responded to reports of mail being stolen. In each case, homeowners placed mail (usually bill payments) in their mailbox for the postal employee to pick up and deliver. However, someone stole the mail, altered the checks, and attempted to cash them at various banks – locally, in other cities, and in different states.
The CCSO is working with other law enforcement agencies and pursuing leads. Investigators say in at least two cases, two different women attempted to cash the stolen checks. The women provided bank tellers with an ID but detectives believe the ID’s did not actually belong to the women. In some cases, the checks were cashed and in other cases the bank tellers questioned the validity of the checks and did not cash them. Here are some helpful tips to consider:
- Do not leave outgoing mail in your unlocked mailbox.
- Deposit mail in a blue collection box or inside your local post office. Don’t leave mail in a collection box that is full.
- Make sure your home mailbox is in good condition. Mail that is exposed can be damaged by bad weather and is visible to thieves.
- Promptly pick up your incoming mail after it is delivered.
- Get together with neighbors and the Postal Service and arrange for the installation of locked group mailboxes for neighborhood delivery.
- Purchase a locked mailbox or convert your unlocked box to the lockable type. Make sure the mail slot is large enough for the letter carrier to insert your mail. The letter carrier cannot pick up mail from this type of box.
- Arrange for your mail to be delivered to a Post Office box for a small fee.
- Have regular income checks deposited electronically into your bank account via direct deposit.
- Arrange to pay your bills using secure online services.
- Promptly contact the senders if you do not receive credit cards, checks, or other valuable mail.
- Notify the post office and mailers if you change your address. When going on vacation, have the post office hold your mail or have a trusted friend or neighbor pick up your mail after delivery.
- Be observant of activities on your street, including those near your letter carrier, the postal vehicle, residential mailboxes, and collection boxes.
- If you see suspicious persons or activity, call 911 while the suspects are still present.
- To “opt out” of receiving pre-approved credit and insurance offers from the credit bureau mailing lists call: 18885OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com.
By following these tips and using common sense, you can lessen your chances of being a victim of mail theft and possible identity theft. If you have questions about postal regulations, contact your local postmaster.
Charles County Crime Solvers is offering a cash reward. Anyone with information about these thefts is asked to call Det. E. Clark of the CCSO at 301-609-6499. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may contact Charles County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS or Text CHARLES + your tip to CRIMES or submit a web tip.