The Town of Greenwich has seen increased reports of stolen checks from mailboxes. These checks are then washed with ink-removing chemicals and rewritten to a new payee for large amounts of money. The Greenwich Police Department is working with the US Postal Inspectors and other area police departments to share information to disrupt, identify, and arrest the perpetrators stealing mail.
GPD offers the following tips to help prevent becoming a victim of mail theft/check washing:
Pick up your mail promptly after delivery. Do not leave mail in your mailbox overnight. Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail if you are expecting checks, credit cards, or other negotiable items.
Please contact the issuing agency immediately if you are expecting and do not receive a check or other valuable mail.
Bank online. If possible, please refrain from mailing checks, cash, gift cards, or other negotiable items. Check with your bank's online services, as most offer secure and easy-to-use phone apps.
If you must send a check in the mail, use a gel pen to write checks, as ballpoint pen ink can be easily washed off a check.
Monitor bank activity online and review bank statements as soon as they are received to check for discrepancies
Drop off mail at the post office. Take mail containing checks directly to the post office counter to be mailed and record the names of the postal employees who take the check in case an issue arises later.
Use plain white envelopes to mail checks. Please don't use return envelopes with the utility logo or municipality for tax payments. These tend to be easy targets for thieves.
Do not send cash in the mail.
Tell your Post Office when you will be out of town, so they can hold your mail until you return.
Lastly, if you see something, say something. Be sure to call 911 if suspicious activity is near any mailbox.