Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Yankuba
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2016 10:45 am

Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by Yankuba » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:32 pm

There has been an epidemic of mail theft in Northeast Queens. Someone stole a charity donation my parents mailed and washed the check clean of ink and wrote the check out to an unknown third person. When my father checked his balance with the teller at the bank he discovered that his $10 check became an $8500 check payable to a stranger. So he told the bank it was a fraudulent check and they made him whole and gave him new accounts but not without a lot of hassle. Obviously they had to update everyone who sends money into the account electronically.

Subsequently, the same thing happened to my parents' friend and another friend. People are using devices to steal mail out of the mailboxes and they are washing checks clean or trying to move money over the telephone.

I guess this is another reason to pay bills electronically and only mail payments from the actual post office. Sad we can't use mailboxes anymore!

https://qns.com/story/2018/07/10/u-s-po ... heft-rash/

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 17767
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by dm200 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:34 pm

Yankuba wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:32 pm
There has been an epidemic of mail theft in Northeast Queens. Someone stole a charity donation my parents mailed and washed the check clean of ink and wrote the check out to an unknown third person. When my father checked his balance with the teller at the bank he discovered that his $10 check became an $8500 check payable to a stranger. So he told the bank it was a fraudulent check and they made him whole and gave him new accounts but not without a lot of hassle. Obviously they had to update everyone who sends money into the account electronically.
Subsequently, the same thing happened to my parents' friend and another friend. People are using devices to steal mail out of the mailboxes and they are washing checks clean or trying to move money over the telephone.
I guess this is another reason to pay bills electronically and only mail payments from the actual post office. Sad we can't use mailboxes anymore!
https://qns.com/story/2018/07/10/u-s-po ... heft-rash/
Or, perhaps, use a Box at the local post office..

boglegirl
Posts: 276
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:41 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by boglegirl » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:31 pm

I'm probably paranoid, but I haven't used the mailbox in front of my house for outgoing mail of any import for years. Putting the flag up seems to scream "mail inside! Steal me!" I also think there's a higher likelihood of the carrier dropping/losing my outgoing mail vs it getting lost in the drive-through box at the post office. (yes, I have seen pieces of mail that appeared to be dropped by a carrier).

But I never ever write checks anyway, so I'm not sure what I'm worried about. :? Just want to make sure my mom gets her Mother's Day card, I guess. :)

arf30
Posts: 194
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:55 am

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by arf30 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:45 pm

You can get a steel locking mailbox with a slot so letters and small packages can go in, but nothing can come out without the key. Have used one for years with no issues. If you live in a neighborhood where people are breaking these things open, get a PO box or move.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 17767
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by dm200 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:47 pm

Some folks have a mail slot in their front door.

User avatar
Elsebet
Posts: 559
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:28 pm
Location: Washington state

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by Elsebet » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:57 pm

There's a lot of mail/package theft in our area (east of Seattle) too. We have cameras all over the outside of the house for the package issue. We don't have a camera down on the mailbox yet, but we did sign up for the USPS delivery email so we know what to expect. We also collect our mail every day. Been thinking about a locking mailbox too but haven't pulled the trigger yet.

User avatar
AAA
Posts: 1031
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 8:56 am

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by AAA » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:56 pm

It's recommended to use a gel pen when writing checks.

Hockey10
Posts: 303
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:20 pm
Location: Philadelphia suburbs

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by Hockey10 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:18 pm

I write very few checks these days, but when I do, the envelope goes straight the box at the Post Office. I never use the mailbox in front of my house for outgoing mail.

RagnarRahl
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:33 am

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by RagnarRahl » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:47 pm

We have had recent thefts in the Phoenix area from USPS outgoing mailboxes--even ones outside post offices. The Postal service has recommended that you not put any outgoing mail in those boxes after the last pickup since most of the thefts occurred late at night or in the early morning hours.

Finridge
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 7:27 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by Finridge » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:55 pm

From the article: "The mail is mainly being stolen through a method known as “fishing,” where thieves attach objects dipped in a sticky substance to fishing line, drop them into USPS mailboxes, and pull out the envelopes inside. The crime tends to happen late at night, Harris noted."

rgs92
Posts: 2144
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:00 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by rgs92 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:19 pm

I only mail snail mail from the Post Office.
I do whatever I can to avoid getting anything important in the mailbox outside my house.
It seems primitive to leave important things out where anyone can get to them or if it's mixed in with a ton of junk mail.
At least try and have it sent to a post office box, preferably signature-required.

A few times they would put a box that was mailed to me in a junky plastic bag (like from a supermarket) and hang it outside the mailbox outside my house (twisting slowly in the wind).

Miakis
Posts: 367
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2014 6:40 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by Miakis » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:32 pm

I wrote a check for girl scout cookies that got stolen out of the mother's car and went through the exact same thing as the OP's parents. It was super annoying to deal with.

The lesson is to be wary of writing checks, I think. You can't really control their custody after you let them go. Writing checks is a last resort for me.

iamlucky13
Posts: 965
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:28 pm
Location: Western Washington

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by iamlucky13 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:19 pm

The main point here is concern about mail being stolen from USPS drop boxes. It would arguably be wise to avoid as much as possible placing mail in a drop box after the last pickup for the day. USPS typically lists scheduled times for pickups on the boxes.

It seems reasonable to add on, if you're concerned about theft from your personal mailbox, sign up for USPS Informed Delivery. They email you images of envelops that will be delivered to you in the next day or two, as well notices if you have packages coming.

It provides no direct protection, but when you know something important is coming, you can prioritize checking your mail early, minimizing the time a thief can act, and helping you know if something is missing.
arf30 wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:45 pm
You can get a steel locking mailbox with a slot so letters and small packages can go in, but nothing can come out without the key. Have used one for years with no issues. If you live in a neighborhood where people are breaking these things open, get a PO box or move.
We have a locking box, but they are only a moderate deterrent, especially ours which had a gap perfect for fitting a pry bar into. I've looked at several others since then, but haven't found one I would expect to have much difficulty breaking into.

We like our area and have no intention of moving, and a PO box would be a 20 minute detour on the way home from work for me. Diligence is our primary response.

They got us during the holiday season, when there's plenty of darkness, and thieves know lots of gift cards get mailed. Since a family member was spending several nights in the hospital at the time, we missed getting our mail several days in a row. We asked around and found out two separate family members had mailed us gift cards the week the theft occurred.

Fortunately, one of the gift cards was from a local business that was very helpful about cancelling the stolen card and issuing a new one. Unfortunately, the other was for Home Depot, who just ran the poor sender around in circles, even though he had the receipt with the gift card number on it. The family member tried for several days, both via their call center and the store they bought the card at, before giving up.

User avatar
cheese_breath
Posts: 7836
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:08 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by cheese_breath » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:45 pm

I never use a personal mail box for anything financial. Always deposit it in a USPS drop box.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

User avatar
Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed May 02, 2018 6:17 am

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:09 am

For outgoing mail, I only drop it off inside the Post Office. For incoming mail, I've used a PO Box for about 10 years now and I'm not going back. I check it about once a week. Only get junk mail and packages at my home address. PO Boxes used to be cheap but keep going up every year. Smallest size is like $60+/year where I live, but worth it. I also use Informed Delivery with the PO Box.

I rarely write checks anymore, but when I do, I use a Uniball brand ink pen with the "Uni super ink" or whatever it's called. It seems to be more water and chemical resistant. I hear similar things about gel pens too (like Pilot G2 or Zebra G-301).

farnsy
Posts: 87
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:49 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by farnsy » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:26 am

Not for this reason, but I never mail checks any more. I always either use electronic payment or I have my bank mail a check. I don't like using stamps for that purpose...it feels like holding an index fund that has a slightly higher expense ratio or a savings account with a slightly lower interest rate: a waste.

I do still write the occasional check, but for the last couple of years it's always been to pay someone face to face.

HIinvestor
Posts: 1619
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:23 am

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by HIinvestor » Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:21 am

My CPA says we are his only client who insists on NOT writing checks with our tax returns but always paying online thru e-check or CCard. It just feels safer NOT to write both our full SS#s on the check as IT’S required. Sadly, the IRS is claiming we didn’t pay them even though we have a receipt from their website showing we did pay as well as the bank statement showing funds were transferred from our acct to IRS. :-(

I have never had problems with checks stolen from USPS blue drop boxes around Honolulu or elsewhere. I haven’t left mail with checks in my mailbox for decades now. I hand it to the mail carrier or put it in USPS drop boxes or take it to the post office.

Most of my bills I just pay over the telephone or they’re on autopay for utilities.

Momus
Posts: 349
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by Momus » Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:42 am

Not that concerned... a simple phone call to the bank and some hassle will get you back all your money.

One of the many reasons I have 0 crypto ;-D

Mitchell777
Posts: 1014
Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 6:32 am

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by Mitchell777 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:32 am

I use the corner mailboxes every month or two. The last time I noticed the box only opened a few inches. I had a very small soft package that did not fit without forcing. Actually I assumed the mailbox was broken until I got to the next one and it also only opened only a few inched. This is new in my area within the past several months but seems like a good idea.

kaneohe
Posts: 4957
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:38 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by kaneohe » Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:42 am

HIinvestor wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:21 am
My CPA says we are his only client who insists on NOT writing checks with our tax returns but always paying online thru e-check or CCard. It just feels safer NOT to write both our full SS#s on the check as IT’S required. .................................................
doesn't change your main pt .....but isn't only one SSN (primary taxpayer) required on check?

Cheyenne
Posts: 404
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2015 6:46 am

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by Cheyenne » Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:50 am

I have observed the mail box at our post office full to the top on a Sunday night when letters were visible in the slot and one could easily grab a hand full.

User avatar
cheese_breath
Posts: 7836
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:08 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:00 am

kaneohe wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:42 am
HIinvestor wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:21 am
My CPA says we are his only client who insists on NOT writing checks with our tax returns but always paying online thru e-check or CCard. It just feels safer NOT to write both our full SS#s on the check as IT’S required. .................................................
doesn't change your main pt .....but isn't only one SSN (primary taxpayer) required on check?
SSNs aren't required on checks unless you're saying your CPA requires you to write them on the checks you give him.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

Compound
Posts: 609
Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 1:32 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by Compound » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:11 am

AAA wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:56 pm
It's recommended to use a gel pen when writing checks.
Hadn’t heard this before. Does the gel ink not wash out?

kaneohe
Posts: 4957
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:38 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by kaneohe » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:25 am

cheese_breath wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:00 am
kaneohe wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:42 am
HIinvestor wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:21 am
My CPA says we are his only client who insists on NOT writing checks with our tax returns but always paying online thru e-check or CCard. It just feels safer NOT to write both our full SS#s on the check as IT’S required. .................................................
doesn't change your main pt .....but isn't only one SSN (primary taxpayer) required on check?
SSNs aren't required on checks unless you're saying your CPA requires you to write them on the checks you give him.
Instructions for 1040-V and 1040-ES suggest you write tel.no and SSN on checks. Perhaps not required and seemingly redundant for SSN since it is on the forms but maybe if check and form are separated check could be credited to wrong acct.......just more self-defense, perhaps.

User avatar
F150HD
Posts: 1571
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:49 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by F150HD » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:32 am

Finridge wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:55 pm
From the article: "The mail is mainly being stolen through a method known as “fishing,” where thieves attach objects dipped in a sticky substance to fishing line, drop them into USPS mailboxes, and pull out the envelopes inside. The crime tends to happen late at night, Harris noted."

a rat trap on a piece of string. Low budget theft.

Image

User avatar
F150HD
Posts: 1571
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:49 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by F150HD » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:34 am

Cheyenne wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:50 am
I have observed the mail box at our post office full to the top on a Sunday night when letters were visible in the slot and one could easily grab a hand full.
as have I, and they've removed a bunch of mailboxes on city street corners assume-ably to save $$, prob contributes to the issue.

GoldenFinch
Posts: 1611
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:34 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by GoldenFinch » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:34 am

Cheyenne wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:50 am
I have observed the mail box at our post office full to the top on a Sunday night when letters were visible in the slot and one could easily grab a hand full.
Our local post office mailbox sometimes has mail stuffed to the brim and even falling out! I was pretty shocked the first time I saw mail on the ground in the snow next to the box. I go into the post office with my mail now.

User avatar
ClevrChico
Posts: 1263
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:24 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by ClevrChico » Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:06 am

I mail anything outgoing at my megacorp employer. They have a great shipping department.

User avatar
bottlecap
Posts: 5766
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:21 pm
Location: Tennessee

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by bottlecap » Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:12 am

Well, this certainly gives me something to look forward to in 20 years...

JT

carolinaman
Posts: 3208
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:56 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by carolinaman » Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:58 am

dm200 wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:34 pm
Yankuba wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:32 pm
There has been an epidemic of mail theft in Northeast Queens. Someone stole a charity donation my parents mailed and washed the check clean of ink and wrote the check out to an unknown third person. When my father checked his balance with the teller at the bank he discovered that his $10 check became an $8500 check payable to a stranger. So he told the bank it was a fraudulent check and they made him whole and gave him new accounts but not without a lot of hassle. Obviously they had to update everyone who sends money into the account electronically.
Subsequently, the same thing happened to my parents' friend and another friend. People are using devices to steal mail out of the mailboxes and they are washing checks clean or trying to move money over the telephone.
I guess this is another reason to pay bills electronically and only mail payments from the actual post office. Sad we can't use mailboxes anymore!
https://qns.com/story/2018/07/10/u-s-po ... heft-rash/
Or, perhaps, use a Box at the local post office..
DM200, that approach is not foolproof either. DW put a letter with check in box at local PO branch. Someone altered her $70 check to $850 and deposited at bank, and funds were taken from our account. They apparently did this at ATM as bank told me no teller would ever have deposited such an obviously altered check. The bank made us whole but required us to open a new checking account, which was a big pain given all the automated deposits and payments we do each month.

I told the bank we would bring charges against perpetrator but they would never give us any information about what account the money went to. Local police said they needed more information in order to investigate. The only way I could report theft to the PO (aside from branch manager which I was advised not to do) was online and it took me a couple of hours to find the website and do it. As far as I could tell, it was a black hole I reported to as there was no acknowledgment or response. Very non-customer friendly.

The local police said this was very common and the crooks know how to work the system. It was a very frustrating experience. DW is certain the letter was stolen because she mailed another letter at the same time to a friend in a another city who never received the letter.

Fast forward a few months, there was a news report that PO investigators had filed charges against several Charlotte area PO employees for stealing mail. This is self defeating for PO because we now do as much financial transactions as possible online, bypassing the PO. The irony is that we view online financial transactions safer than snail mail.

User avatar
AAA
Posts: 1031
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 8:56 am

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by AAA » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:19 pm

Compound wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:11 am
AAA wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:56 pm
It's recommended to use a gel pen when writing checks.
Hadn’t heard this before. Does the gel ink not wash out?
I've read this several places, for instance here: http://www.ckfraud.org/washing.html

From the last paragraph:

WHAT TYPE OF PEN TO USE WHEN WRITING A CHECK:

If you are a ballpoint pen lover, switch to black ink when security is important. Among water-based inks, remember that gels are the most impervious. But when you're writing checks to pay the monthly bills, only one type of ink, the kind in gel pens, has been found to be counterfeit proof to acetone or any other chemical used in "check washing." Most ballpoint and marker inks are dye based, meaning that the pigments are dissolved in the ink.

Based on recent ink security studies, we highly recommend that you use a gel pen, like the Uniball 207 that uses gel ink that contains tiny particles of color that are trapped into the paper, making check washing a lot more difficult. The pen sells for about $2. Personally I sign all my checks and important documents with one. But if you don't want to switch, do not hesitate to to use your favorite fountain pen. Just fill it with ink in one of the more durable colors and enjoy!

TravelforFun
Posts: 1424
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:05 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by TravelforFun » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:24 pm

I do everything only including making donations to charities.

TravelforFun

S&L1940
Posts: 1591
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 11:19 pm
Location: South Florida

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by S&L1940 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:39 pm

farnsy wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:26 am
Not for this reason, but I never mail checks any more. I always either use electronic payment or I have my bank mail a check. I don't like using stamps for that purpose...it feels like holding an index fund that has a slightly higher expense ratio or a savings account with a slightly lower interest rate: a waste.

I do still write the occasional check, but for the last couple of years it's always been to pay someone face to face.
Yep, me too. Send checks via the bank's bill paying system, paper checks only when handing them to the payee. Most bills paid on line. Mail box used mostly to receive my AARP mags and promos (not a member but use their insurance) and the many Bed Bath Beyond coupons that come monthly.
Still say the postal service should receive royalties from UPS and FedEx for profiting from the USPS's lack of service and custom care and making them major players in the letter and package delivery universe.
Don't it always seem to go * That you don't know what you've got * Till it's gone

david99
Posts: 631
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 11:56 am

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by david99 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:48 pm

Mitchell777 wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:32 am
I use the corner mailboxes every month or two. The last time I noticed the box only opened a few inches. I had a very small soft package that did not fit without forcing. Actually I assumed the mailbox was broken until I got to the next one and it also only opened only a few inches. This is new in my area within the past several months but seems like a good idea.
They also changed the mailboxes where I live so that they only open a few inches. And they say that you should not leave mail after the pickup time posted on the box.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 17767
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by dm200 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:11 pm

Still say the postal service should receive royalties from UPS and FedEx for profiting from the USPS's lack of service and custom care and making them major players in the letter and package delivery universe.
PO Box holders at my local Post Office can receive FedEX, UPS, etc. deliveries to the PO Box - as part of the PO Box fee.

I also put all outgoing mail in the outgoing box at the local post office or one of the remaining big boxes on the street.

User avatar
whodidntante
Posts: 3940
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:11 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by whodidntante » Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:19 pm

It's a reasonable security precaution to eliminate the use of checks from your life. You'll be fine because it is no longer 1940 and there are typically better options available. Specifically, use credit cards, bill payment services, mobile payments, ACH, Zelle, Paypal, and wire transfers. I guess you could also use cash in some situations. I held $1,500 in cash in my hand today for 15 minutes, but only because I was closing a bank account and they wanted to charge me a fee to do anything reasonable. I walked to the bank adjacent to that one I left and deposited it.

miles monroe
Posts: 1198
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:14 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by miles monroe » Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:25 pm

someone stole a bill i paid with a check from my mailbox 3 years ago; they used the routing info on the check along with personal ID they had from someone else and created checks on a laser printer. they cashed one check for $500 and one debit transacton for $300. i caught this early only becasue i had just changed my health insurance and was making sure my checking account was debited for the first premium payment.

i was reimbursed for the debit transaction in about a week; the check took a couple months for reimbursement (the bank took all the legally allowable time to "investigate" the transaction).

thats the last time i've put anything outgoing in my mailbox; everything is taken to the post office.

JW-Retired
Posts: 6887
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 12:25 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by JW-Retired » Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:27 pm

DW and I still mail a lot of checks. That will continue since we can't recall that we ever had a check stolen in the mail and fraudulently cashed. We do always drop any mail with checks into the mailbox down the street within an hour or two of the pickup time. Also, our mail delivery goes through a slot into the garage. So no easy pickings there.

In contrast to that perfect check safety record, we have typically seen fraud attempts on one or two of our credit card accounts yearly. Clearly, checks are safer for us..... so far. :beer
JW
Retired at Last

jalbert
Posts: 3588
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:29 am

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by jalbert » Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:42 pm

Anytime you pay someone by paper check you risk the check being deposited by phone camera or scan and the paper check not being shredded for disposal when done. Who knows where it will end up? I always use a bank account online billpay (if a check, it won't have my acct#) or credit card if possible for payments. Putting your credit card in paypal and using paypal for credit card transactions also avoids giving a merchant the credit card number.
Index fund investor since 1987.

HIinvestor
Posts: 1619
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:23 am

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by HIinvestor » Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:44 pm

Our CPA said IRS rejected a few clients checks when they didn’t write full SSNs on them. We just put last 4 digits but didn’t even like providing that info.

I wouldn’t put mail into a box that was already full and overstuffed and see no point in doing so. I’ve never bought any special pen for writing checks and have never had anyone alter one in the decades we have had a checking accts. On the other hand, have had fraudulent charges on CCs a few times, caught early and fully refunded in the same day IIRC, with CC reissued and replacements rushed to us.

Grasshopper
Posts: 900
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 3:52 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by Grasshopper » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:07 pm

I rarely write checks, even so I get an alert by text on every dime that leaves my checking account, brokerage account, and everywhere else I keep my money. :beer

User avatar
Doom&Gloom
Posts: 2157
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:52 pm

I quit putting outgoing mail in our mailbox a few decades ago because I had so little confidence in the carriers picking it up and getting it to the proper spot. In the intervening years I used the USPS for less and less of consequence. I can think of only two annual checks that I send via USPS--hardly worth finding a special pen to use.

The only care I take with mailboxes these days is to look both ways before crossing the street on the way to get the junk mail out of mine. Thanks for the life lesson, Mom!

User avatar
cfs
Posts: 4154
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 1:22 am
Location: ~ Mi Propio Camino ~

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by cfs » Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:55 pm

Any type of letter, with or without checks enclosed, I drive to my local Post Office where they will stamp it and mail it for me. It is a safe way to take care of my outgoing correspondence and it is also a good opportunity to say hello to my old Post Office friends. Good luck, y gracias por leer ~cfs~
~ Member of the Active Retired Force since 2014 ~

Compound
Posts: 609
Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 1:32 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by Compound » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:16 pm

AAA wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:19 pm
Compound wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:11 am
AAA wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:56 pm
It's recommended to use a gel pen when writing checks.
Hadn’t heard this before. Does the gel ink not wash out?
I've read this several places, for instance here: http://www.ckfraud.org/washing.html

From the last paragraph:

WHAT TYPE OF PEN TO USE WHEN WRITING A CHECK:

If you are a ballpoint pen lover, switch to black ink when security is important. Among water-based inks, remember that gels are the most impervious. But when you're writing checks to pay the monthly bills, only one type of ink, the kind in gel pens, has been found to be counterfeit proof to acetone or any other chemical used in "check washing." Most ballpoint and marker inks are dye based, meaning that the pigments are dissolved in the ink.

Based on recent ink security studies, we highly recommend that you use a gel pen, like the Uniball 207 that uses gel ink that contains tiny particles of color that are trapped into the paper, making check washing a lot more difficult. The pen sells for about $2. Personally I sign all my checks and important documents with one. But if you don't want to switch, do not hesitate to to use your favorite fountain pen. Just fill it with ink in one of the more durable colors and enjoy!
Thank you!

sleepwell
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:28 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by sleepwell » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:20 pm

Thanks to all for the information regarding the extent of this problem. Thanks especially to carolinaman about the problems in the Charlotte area. I guess we aren't a little country town any more. Sigh.

student
Posts: 2524
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:58 am

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by student » Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:06 am

AAA wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:56 pm
It's recommended to use a gel pen when writing checks.
Thank you for the suggestion. I will implement this recommendation.

2 bits
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:42 am

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by 2 bits » Sun Jul 15, 2018 6:12 am

student wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:06 am
AAA wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:56 pm
It's recommended to use a gel pen when writing checks.
Thank you for the suggestion. I will implement this recommendation.
Perfect timing, I just noticed that our local grocery store is selling gel pens BOGO this week. Must be a “back to school “ special.
I sometimes think that I am living the life of which my immigrant ancestors dreamed.

User avatar
legio XX
Posts: 441
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:37 am
Location: NYC

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by legio XX » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:41 am

iamlucky13 wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:19 pm
The main point here is concern about mail being stolen from USPS drop boxes. It would arguably be wise to avoid as much as possible placing mail in a drop box after the last pickup for the day. USPS typically lists scheduled times for pickups on the boxes.
Yeh, there are notices on the mailboxes (NYC, UWS) about not putting mail in the box if you miss the day's one pickup. Go to the PO or come back tomorrow, etc. :annoyed

User avatar
munemaker
Posts: 3412
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:14 pm

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by munemaker » Sun Jul 15, 2018 3:43 pm

I keep my use of US Postal Service to the absolute minimum.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 17767
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Be Careful Using Mailboxes

Post by dm200 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:12 pm

munemaker wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 3:43 pm
I keep my use of US Postal Service to the absolute minimum.
There are some reasons to use the USPS - Scam artists tend to shy away from using the Post office because of the penalties, etc. of using the US Mail.

Post Reply