Check washing is a type of fraud where the scammer steals a victim’s check(s) and then changes the payee name and amount on checks in order to fraudulently deposit them.
Sometimes the scammer will make many blank copies of the victim’s check and then make them payable to multiple payees and for various amounts.
Often, by the time the victim becomes aware of this fraud, the damage may already be done.
Even though use of checks has declined over the last 30 years, instances of check fraud have been increasing.
The following are ways to avoid becoming a victim of check washing:
- Deposit mail in collection boxes before the last pick up of the day to insure you mail is retrieved by the Post Office before the end of the day;
- Take your mail directly to the Post Office and drop it off in a lobby collection box;
- Retrieve your mail frequently;
- Do not leave your mail in an accessible mailbox overnight;
- Have your mail held by the Post Office if you are going to be away.