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Communications Center

Mailbox Fishing

Posted on May 14, 2020

Criminals are always finding ways to get the information they need to commit fraud with the greatest ease. Recently, mailbox fishing has become a significant issue in the Northeast as individuals involved in this fraud target stand-alone United States Postal Service mailboxes.

The process is simple and often done one of two ways. Some criminals simply take metal tools such as a crowbar or screw driver to older boxes and pop off the side. They can then remove the internal collection box and all of its contents. Another method is to place a sticky item on the end of a string and “fish” out the mail. The envelopes stick to the glue and out comes the prize. The aim is to extract mail that could contain cash or gift cards as well as documents that would be useful to commit identity theft, bank fraud or tax return fraud.

The Postal Service is responding to these attacks by installing upgraded mailboxes that are outfitted with smaller mail slots and mechanisms that prevent the retraction of items through the opening.  This process is occurring progressively in areas already being hit hardest by thieves.

As a precaution, folks who are using these boxes should review collection times to ensure that their items are not left in the box for extended periods. They should also note that the newer boxes are safer to use than the older versions. Ultimately, one can’t go wrong by bringing outgoing mail directly to the Postal window.

For more information on preventing mail related fraud, visit USPIS.Gov.

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