‘Mail fishing’ is getting more popular — here’s how to protect yourself

Written by |

You can always trust the scammers to come up with new and creative ways to separate us from our money. You’re likely familiar with phone fraud and email phishing, but do you know about “mail fishing?”

Mail fishing is when criminals lower contraptions in your mailbox to “fish” out your check, gift card or package, just like they would in a body of water. In many cases, the crooks will even use fishing line or a string that has been caked with adhesive.

‘Snail mail fishing’ is on the rise — here’s how to avoid becoming a victim

There have been “several complaints” of checks fished from mailboxes in New York City’s Queens borough, according to QNS.com.

An elderly woman in Manhattan put a check made out for $112 in a blue mailbox on the Upper West Side, according to USA Today. It never made it to its destination. To make matters worse, the perpetrator modified the check so that it was made out for $3,500.

“I pay all my bills by mail — around 30 checks a month,” Josefina Gomez Pando, 83, told USA Today. “This never happened to me.” Her bank was able to stop the check, but many more are falling victim to this fast-growing crime.

Mail fishing has “doubled over the last two years, at least,” Lt. John Grimpel, a spokesman for the New York City Police Department, was quoted by USA Today as saying.

To head off criminals that would use our mailboxes as ponds stocked with our hard-earned money, we need to take a few precautionary measures:

  • “Use mailboxes off the beaten path.” That sound advice was recently tweeted by the NYPD’s 11th Precinct to help would-be victims.
  • Track your mail: The U.S. Postal Service provides a number of tracking options, including Informed Delivery, where you can get a preview of mail that’s coming to you.
  • Deposit your mail early in the day: Because of the prevalence of crime, you may be in the habit of dropping off your mail after-hours or even overnight. That’s a bad idea. Thieves thrive at night. Drop your mail off early so a postal worker can pick it up before the end of the day.
  • Drop your mail close to the pick-up time: This gives criminals less time to intercept it.
  • Take your mail inside the post office: Leave nothing to chance by going inside the post office and hand-delivering your mail to the clerk or putting it inside a slot on the interior of the building.

Keep up to date with the latest safety tips and more at Clark.com. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

RELATED: Cheapest way to mail books, CDs and more

Welcome bonuses can be a great way to boost the value of a credit card. Best Credit Card Welcome Bonuses for 2023 - If you're in the market for a new credit card in 2023, you may be hoping to cash in on the hundreds of dollars in sign-up bonuses offered to new customers. Welcome bonuses and offers are a marketing tool that…
The best cell phone plans include Tello, Mint Mobile, Visible, T-Mobile, Consumer Cellular and more Best Cell Phone Plans in 2023: The Cheapest Plan for Every Need - Team Clark ranks the best cell phone plans and deals! See our favorites for unlimited data, families and cheap plans starting at $10/month.