The United States Postal Service (USPS) is cautioning residents in New Jersey about the heightened dangers of mailing checks, due to a surge in check fraud incidents.

A new criminal technology, known as "check washing" is a common technique employed by fraudsters. It involves using chemicals to erase information on the check, such as the payee's name and the amount. Subsequently, criminals fill in new details, including the desired amount.

Criminals are reportedly employing a device known as an "arrow key" to illicitly access USPS collection boxes, essentially serving as a universal key for these mailboxes. Once inside, they sift through the mail, specifically targeting checks for theft.

Furthermore, criminals have found an even simpler method—raiding home mailboxes. The raised flags on these mailboxes act as a signal, indicating potential valuables inside.

The ramifications extend beyond monetary loss, as stolen checks can lead to identity theft. Criminals gaining access to bank account details can not only siphon funds but also compromise personal information.

To mitigate these risks, the USPS strongly advises individuals to exclusively mail checks at the post office, discouraging the use of blue USPS collection boxes or personal mailboxes. However, the most effective prevention method is to avoid using checks altogether.

Considering the prevalence of mobile banking, individuals are urged to explore this secure and convenient alternative to traditional check transactions. Mobile banking not only provides ease of use but also minimizes the risks associated with check fraud.