Hammonton Police have issued an alert concerning mail fraud, stolen checks, and financial crimes that were committed after mail was stolen from an exterior mailbox at the Hammonton Post Office.

Hammonton Police & Postal Service Investigating Postal Crimes

Hammonton Police have posted on Facebook saying a mailbox outside the Hammonton Post Office appears to have been tampered with over the Presidents’ Day weekend, Feb 14-17, with customers' outgoing mail being stolen.

Checks were taken and altered, causing financial theft and fraud affecting businesses and residents.

Checks Stolen and Altered in the Mail is a National Problem

The Los Angeles Times has reported on the growing problem of mail fraud.

Thieves take signed checks from mailboxes, sometimes using keys stolen from mail carriers, and “wash” them with common solvents such as nail polish remover.


Once the checks dry, they change the amounts and payees and then cash the altered checks.

The USPS has warned about the dangers of mailing checks, cautioning people in New Jersey about a surge in check fraud incidents.

Criminals Are 'Washing' Stolen Checks & Using Arrow Keys

A new criminal technology, known as "check washing" is a common technique used by fraudsters. It involves using chemicals to erase information on the check, such as your name and check amount. Then, the crooks fill in new details, typically including much higher amounts of money.

Another issue is thieves using a device known as an "arrow key" to illicitly access postal collection boxes, serving as a universal key for the mailboxes. Once inside, they sift through the mail, specifically targeting checks for theft.

Police Ask for Your Attention & Cooperation

Hammonton Police say that steps have been taken to make the exterior mailboxes at the Hammonton Post Office more secure.

If you notice a check has been cashed for a different amount than you issued, you should contact Hammonton Police or your local South Jersey police department.

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