Money Tips for College Students
Experts are advising Americans to avoid sending checks in the mail and to take additional security measures when necessary to avoid becoming a victim of check fraud.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) received 680,000 reports of check fraud in 2022 while the United States Postal Inspection Service received 300,000 complaints of mail theft. These numbers doubled those of 2021 statistics.
While check usage is on the decline with the advancement of technology, the U.S. Postal Service has been increasingly targeted with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic as government relief checks became a prime confit for criminals.
Check fraud is no small operation – it consists of multiple people infiltrating post office distribution centers, establishing fake businesses, and creating fake IDs. “Walkers,” people who physically walk into financial institutions to cash stolen checks, are trained to appear as though they are conducting legitimate business.
Criminals fish mail out of postal boxes, looking for envelopes that may be bill payments or other checks being mailed. In most cases of check fraud, the criminal will use tactics to change the payee’s name and the amount of the check. Some use stolen checks to gather personal information which is then used to construct fake entities, open new accounts and lines of credit, and create new checks using the same account information that appears on the original (stolen) check.
To prevent falling victim to these schemes, Sooper Credit Union offers the following tips:
Visit uspis.gov (the United States Postal Inspection Service website) for more information on how to protect yourself from mail and package theft.
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