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Green Country Thieves Stealing Checks From Mailboxes

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Amy had the red flag raised on her mailbox. Amy had the red flag raised on her mailbox.
Amy closed her checking account after the checks were stolen. Amy closed her checking account after the checks were stolen.
Thieves can use a liquid to wash off the ink on a check. Thieves can use a liquid to wash off the ink on a check.

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The turkey isn't even cooked yet and criminals are already messing up the shopping season, by stealing checks out of your mailbox. They use those checks to go on shopping sprees of their own, ruining your good name in the process.

Amy mailed three utility bills recently by stamping them, putting them in her mailbox on the street and putting up the flag. Within an hour, they'd been stolen.

Amy, Mail Theft Victim: "We got a knock on the door and it was the police."

Lori Fullbright, News On 6: "Really, what'd they say?"

Amy, Mail Theft Victim: "Telling us they had our utility bill in their hand, that our mail had been stolen and found in another neighborhood, in another lady's mailbox."

Now Amy had to wonder who had her checks, what were they going to do with them and what would happen to her identity and credit rating.

"Course, I freaked out, started panicking," she said. "What do I do, what do I do, what do I do?"

She closed her checking account and waited. Sure enough, the thief had washed her check to ONG, which means they use a liquid to wash off the ink she used, then the thief went to Wal-Mart and tried to write the check for a $105 purchase.

"The day before, a guy was arrested walking on the streets, taking people's mail and he was still in jail, so it was a different guy," Amy said.

Police say this problem is only get to worse as the holidays approach when people send cards with checks and gift cards in them. Don't ever mail anything with money in it from your mailbox, only mail them at the post office or a blue post office box.

Lori Fullbright, News On 6: "Will you ever mail bills from your mailbox again?"

Amy, Mail Theft Victim: "No, no, no, no."

Ways to help prevent theives from stealing checks from your mailbox:

  • Use gel pens instead of ink on your checks and the thieves can't wash them, but still, don't mail them from your mail box, because the crooks can still use the information from your checks to damage your identity and credit.
  • Don't have your bank mail your box of checks to you, go pick them up in person or have them sent to a place where someone can get them.
  • Don't think it can't happen to you. News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright once interviewed a couple of guys caught who told said they drove around each day, opening up mailboxes, looking for checks and they usually opened 500 a day.
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