I'm always amazed at the lengths criminals will go to rip victims off. Think about how much effort they put in with attacks like ransomware and phishing scams.
If they would put that much energy into a real career they would probably be super successful. Unfortunately, that's probably never going to happen and we'll have to deal with these degenerates forever.
Since cybercriminals are everywhere online, we're always warning you about the latest scams making the rounds.
You're not going to believe what's happening now! Thieves are taking their corrupt ambitions to the streets, literally.
Criminals using old school tactics
Have you ever heard the term "mail fishing?" I'm talking about snail mail and it's exactly what it sounds like.
Criminals lower a rigged, "fishing line" into a mailbox to fish out mail that has been deposited. The fishing line is typically attached to an object that has been dipped into a sticky substance. That allows it to capture items that are inside the mailbox. They are looking for anything of value including cash, checks, gift cards and even packages.
Reports of stolen mail are on the rise. Police across the U.S. have been putting out warnings recently to bring awareness to this growing epidemic.
Having a check that you've mailed stolen is even worse than you'd imagine. Think about all the sensitive information that a thief has access to if they steal one of your personal checks. Your bank's routing number, your checking account number, your name, address and most likely phone number are all printed right on the check. That's a treasure trove of data that thieves can easily take advantage of.
Not only that, but victims have reported stolen checks are being altered. One woman in Manhattan told "USA Today" she dropped a check into a blue U.S. Post Office mailbox that was made out for $112. A thief stole the check and to make matters worse, changed the amount to $3,500.
A NYPD spokesperson said that cases of mail fishing have at least doubled over the last two years. In an effort to fend off these types of attacks, the NYPD said to use mailboxes off the beaten path or none at all to lower your risk. Keep reading for more suggestions on keeping your mail safe.
How to stamp out mailbox phishing!
If you're mailing checks, money orders, or tax returns, protect yourself from mailbox fishing and check fraud. Here are some suggestions:
- Drop mail containing checks inside the post office to ensure that your mail is not stolen from a mailbox.
- When writing checks, use permanent ink that cannot be erased.
- Check your account balances frequently to ensure that the proper amount is debited.
- If you see anyone tampering with a mailbox, report it immediately to 911.
- Send your mail early in the day - If you put your mail in the mailbox in the morning, it should be picked up by the postal carrier before criminals get to it at night.
- Watch for questionable mailboxes - Do not put mail into a mailbox that looks like it's been tampered with. It could be a regular stop for mailbox thieves.
- Track important mail - The U.S. Postal Service offers several tracking options, including Informed Delivery. This lets you see a preview of mail being sent to you.
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5 best gadgets to keep criminals from stealing your information
Cybercriminals trying to hack our information aren't the only ones we need to worry about. There are also old-fashioned criminals out there, rummaging through our trash looking for sensitive data, or even worse, breaking into our homes to get their hands on it. With so many threats lurking, you might feel overwhelmed at the prospect of protecting your information. You don't have to go it alone though, there are plenty of items to add to your repertoire to help.