Like many, I check my banking app daily to make sure the few dollars I have are still safe and sound.
Yesterday, I noticed an alert that I had never seen before.
Check fraud. Really?
Apparently, it’s become quite the problem in New Jersey and nationwide.
According to CBS News, the thieves use something called an arrow key to break into those blue USPS collection boxes.
Think of it as a universal key for all USPS mailboxes.
After criminals have access to the mailbox, they can go through all the mail and start stealing checks.
Oh, there’s an even easier way for thieves to get our checks. They can just open home mailboxes, snatch the contents, and be on their way.
We even do criminals the favor of putting a flag up so they don’t waste their time checking empty mailboxes.
The risk is more than cashing your check and stealing your money. They can steal your identity.
Once criminals have access to your bank account and routing number, it makes it easier to access your money and potentially take over your identity.
This is a real thing. A couple of my friends have had their bank accounts compromised thanks to check fraud.
What happens when a check is stolen?
CBS News reports that a technique called “check washing” is used to scam you out of your money. That involves using chemicals that erase your writing on the check, such as the name of the recipient and the amount of the check. Once the payment is blank, they can fill in new information, including the amount.
So, how do we avoid this headache?
The USPS is advising everyone to only mail checks at the post office. Don’t drop them in the blue USPS mailboxes, or your own personal mailbox.
However, the only real way to avoid check fraud is to not use them.
I haven’t written a check in quite some time as I prefer to use mobile banking.
If you haven’t explored mobile banking on your phone or computer, contact your banking institution for more information.
It’s the safest and easiest way to bank.
Enough doom and gloom. It’s time for some fun. Which controversial song came out the year you were born?
LOOK: Controversial songs from the year you were born
Stacker celebrates history’s most boundary-pushing—and thereby controversial—songs from 1930 through today.
Gallery Credit: Stacker