Since late 2021, law enforcement agencies across the country have reported an increasing number of cases related to mail theft and paper check fraud—and the numbers continue to grow.
While check fraud isn’t new, the perpetrators continue to find new ways to commit identity theft and sell personal information. Trends show this particular threat has been growing in recent months as more checks are being stolen directly from mailboxes.
How It Works
Thieves have been known to take the envelopes out of personal mailboxes after the resident leaves them for pick up. Others have stolen or copied mailbox keys for the large blue U.S. Postal Service boxes and grabbed checks from the opened receptacle. Criminals have also targeted business complexes with multiple mailboxes located in an open outdoor area.
Fraudsters may take the checks for themselves or sell them over the internet. By altering the payee and amount, they can empty a bank account—and steal personal information—before the victim even realize their checks have been taken.
One of the easiest ways to protect accounts from criminals is to avoid mailing checks. Busey offers more secure and convenient digital payments options—such as Bill Pay, Zelle® and Positive Pay—to customers. Additional information on digital payment options can be found on busey.com.
If you prefer to send a personal check—or are unable to pay online—consider the following tips:
- Use the letter slots inside the Post Office or hand deliver it to a letter carrier.
- Use a gel pen to write checks as ballpoint pen ink can easily be washed off a check.
- Use plain white envelopes to mail checks. Avoid provided return envelopes with company names, as these tend to be easy targets.
- Monitor bank transactions online and review statements.
Busey is committed to protecting our customers against fraud and takes every precaution when it comes to securing their personal information. If you suspect fraud on your account, please contact Busey’s Customer Care team or visit your nearest Service Center.