LAUREL, Md. (WUSA) -- Howard County police say 7 at least people have had their checks stolen from mailboxes since October 2012. The latest case happened on January 14, 2013.
According to police, someone is targeting mailboxes with their flags up. The person then steals the check from the mailbox and alters the payee's information so they can go to the victim's bank and cash the check, say police. The reported incidents occurred in the Laurel and Clarksville areas. In some of these cases, "outgoing mail was strewn about the neighborhood and envelopes appeared to have been opened and taped closed after the check was removed," say police.
Police say that people should drop off envelopes and packages containing checks at their nearest post office or in a large blue collection box instead of sending it from their mailboxes. They also recommend the following:
- Deposit your mail in a mail slot at your local post office, in a blue mailbox in your neighborhood, or hand it to your letter carrier.
- Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery, especially if you're expecting checks, credit cards, or other negotiable items.
- If you don't receive a check or other valuable mail you're expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately.
- Have your local post office hold your mail while you're on vacation.
- If you change your address, immediately notify your post office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail.
- Exchange work and vacation schedules with trusted friends and neighbors, so you can watch each other's mailboxes (as well as homes).
If you think your mail has been stolen you can report it to the Howard County police at 410-313-3700 or the US Postal Inspection Service at 202-636-1514.