New Canaan Police are warning residents to avoid using the large USPS mailboxes if possible after a rise in thefts from the boxes.
Lt. Jason Ferraro said the town has experienced at least 12 reported cases of the "phishing" type thefts from mailboxes on Main and Pine streets.
"We even had instances where bills and checks are being stolen from residential mailboxes which have a flag up," Ferraro said.
He advises that residents take their mail inside the post office and hand it to a clerk.
"This is going on around the country," he added. "There was a reported case in New Jersey and other states as well."
Criminals get to the mail by using devices to drop into the USPS mailboxes and pull out mail that may include checks or other valuables.
They then either "wash" the checks and write them for different amounts and to different people or just cash or deposit them.
One local resident said all the bills she mailed from the box on Pine Street in the first part of April did not arrive. She wanted to warn other residents to check their bank accounts and with their utility and credit card companies.
Police offered the following tips:
- Consider transferring money via other methods;
- Drop mail containing checks directly at the Post Office or hand it directly to your mail carrier;
- If you use a mailbox, deposit the mail as close to the scheduled pick-up time as possible;
- Inspect mailboxes for signs of tampering prior to depositing your mail;
- When writing a check, use a pen with pigmented ink that cannot be erased;
- If you see any suspicious activity around mailboxes, call the police.
If you are a victim of mail theft, contact the New Canaan Police at 203-594-3500.
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