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Earlier this year the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network ‘FinCEN’ issued a nationwide alert regarding a surge in check fraud schemes targeting the U.S. mail. Even as fewer paper checks are in circulation, check fraud continues to increase—by 84% in 2022 alone. The alert focused on reports of fraudsters stealing checks from public USPS Collection Boxes, then changing the dollar amount and recipient. This scheme is sometimes combined with identity theft. The Postal Inspection Service is working to further secure these collection boxes.

In the meantime, please share these steps you and your loved ones can take to help mitigate and prevent the risk associated with check fraud:

  • Whenever possible, use an electronic payment method instead of a paper check (e.g. ACH (MoneyLink), bill pay or if needed, a wire).
  • If you’re expecting a check for a large dollar amount, request a direct deposit into your checking account versus a physical check in the mail.
  • Take your mail into the post office versus dropping it into an outdoor USPS collection box. If you must use a collection box, drop it in before the final scheduled pickup to ensure it doesn’t sit in the box overnight, when criminals tend to target these boxes.
  • Monitor your bank account online and verify check images to ensure all checks have been properly deposited.
  • Consider signing up for the free Informed Delivery service, which the post office uses to send you electronic previews of upcoming mail.
  • Immediately report any fraud and/or suspicious activity to your advisor and other trusted parties such as Schwab/Fidelity/your bank etc..


Remember: People with knowledge are the best defense against fraud.



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