By Charlotte Caldwell
SIDNEY – The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office has recently seen an increase in postal theft of checks, and Sheriff Jim Frye provided more information about the matter and a tip for people who send checks in the mail.
Over the past few months, the Sheriff’s office has taken 10 reports of checks being taken from businesses once they are sent in the mail and altered to be cashed under someone else’s name. Many of these checks are for thousands of dollars, with one being as high as over $68,000.
“During the course of several investigations, the question was how are they getting copies of the original checks. We first looked very close as to how mail leaves several businesses to see if the checks were being taken locally and it was determined that these checks were not taken by someone locally,” Frye said. “The detectives working the case met with a postal inspector and it was determined that the problem was within the postal service.”
The Inspector General’s Office and the local postal service are also aware of the problem, and the agencies are working to resolve the issue.
Frye explained checks are altered by taking a picture of the check and sending it to the dark web for the payee and amounts to be changed.
“Some businesses/banks have a verification program that will catch it when something is changed on a check and this is how a lot of these are stopped,” Frye said. “These checks are being sent all over the nation to be cashed or attempted to be cashed. The last check was sent to Arizona. The detectives are working right now with a subject who is alerting us as soon as they see a check hit the dark web. This helps us alert the originator of the check to stop payment and to issue another check.”
Frye provided this tip for sending checks in the mail: “One tip for all businesses who send checks through the mail is to use an envelope without a window on it. This will help deter the fact there’s a check in the envelope.”
The Sidney Daily News conducts a periodic interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.