Mail Fraud is on the Rise
When you think of protecting yourself from fraud, do you consider the security of your mailbox? We have recently seen an uptick in mail fraud, primarily related to stolen/fraudulent checks drawn on both business and consumer customer accounts. Follow these guidelines to help secure your personal and financial information.
TIPS TO PREVENT MAIL FRAUD
Secure Your Mail
- Put outgoing mail in a secure USPS® mailbox – Rather than putting the flag up on your mailbox at home, take bill payments to a post office mailbox. Or at the minimum, drop outgoing mail in your mailbox as close to the pick-up time as possible.
- Protect your checks – Keep all checks in a secure location. And when you order new checks, monitor and track delivery.
- Fill out checks carefully – Do not leave empty spaces where a thief could change the amount or alter the name.
- Use electronic methods – Mail thieves can only access checks if they are in the sender or recipient’s mailbox. Instead, use electronic payment methods to avoid sending checks in the mail. Use bill pay through online banking to schedule and send payments and consider e-gift cards or electronic transfers rather than checks with birthday and holiday cards. Additionally, set up direct deposit for incoming funds such as paychecks and tax refunds.
Monitor Your Mail
- Monitor your accounts closely – Check your bank accounts often to ensure checks are clearing and for the correct amounts.
- Know your billing cycles – Watch for any missing mail, such as credit card or health care statements. For added security, consider changing to e-statements so bills will arrive in your email instead.
- Surveil your mailbox – Retrieve mail promptly every day, and when you plan to be away, use the USPS Hold Mail option so your mail does not accumulate. The post office also has a free service called USPS Informed Delivery that sends you daily email images of your postal mail before it’s delivered so you can know what to expect in your mailbox. Also, consider getting a security camera with a view of your mailbox.
If you suspect someone may have tampered with your mail or accessed your accounts, contact us immediately at (920) 779-7000. Additionally, report any suspected mail fraud to the United States Postal Service and to the three credit reporting agencies.