Check Fraud Alert!

Check fraud continues to be a popular avenue for fraud and account numbers can easily be obtained by fraudsters by intercepting both incoming and outgoing mail from mailboxes.

One example of fraud with intercepted mail occurs when criminals go “fishing”, a method in which they will attach something sticky to a weighted object tied to a string, drop it in the mailbox and pull in whatever they can get.

If the envelope contains a check, the thief will alter it by erasing the ink using household chemicals. The check will then be rewritten to a different person, usually for a significant amount and cashed in at an ATM or financial institution. Another common practice is to sell the altered check on the dark web, or in another part of the country.

To minimize stolen check fraud, the banking industry suggests you take the following precautions:

  • Use a pen with indelible black gel ink that can’t be erased.
  • Deposit mail with checks inside the post office, not in outdoor blue mailboxes
  • If you choose to leave outgoing mail in your mailbox, don’t put up the flag.
  • Grab incoming mail right away.
  • Deposit mail with checks just before a mailbox’s last pickup.
  • Pay your bills online.
  • Talk to your NBT relationship manager about check fraud prevention tools that can be added to your account
  • Keep an eye on your bank accounts for potential fraud, and report suspicious activity as soon as possible.