Emmett Township police are cautioning Calhoun County residents about sending checks from their own mailboxes.  It should be something all of us take to heart. There’s a growing trend of criminals spotting mailbox red flags alerting carriers there’s something ready for pickup. Thieves then target those mailboxes to steal whatever is inside. When they find a check, they’ll alter the dollar among and the name and attempt to cash them. Sometimes it works. But at a minimum, the stolen check doesn’t get to where it was intended.

Get our free mobile app

Emmett Township Detective Seth Graves says it's just a bad idea to send a check from a residential mailbox.  Always use a postal service box to send financial items. They can only be accessed by a postal employee.

Detective Graves says it’s also recommended that you speak with elderly relatives about the issue since they are more likely to be using personal checks to pay bills and send those through the mail. And of course, sending cash through the mail is an absolute no.

But in some cases, mailing a check may be the only option available. And are there ways we can make our use of personal checks more secure?

The website thesimpledollar.com says the answer is a definite yes.

One simple way to help secure a check is to use a pen with indelible ink.
Many top retailers keep them in stock. Apparently, because they are in high demand. But some well-known pen manufacturers use indelible ink as a standard practice. A quick online search will help you find some near you or you can simply order online. That offers partial safety. While maybe not being able to alter a check, there’s a chance a criminal may still be able to cash it in some way.

Another option is to “restrict” the check. You should verify with your bank if this is a viable option. Some banks allow clients to indicate on the backside of the check, in the endorsement area, “for deposit only to account of payee”. That way, if a criminal was able to alter the check, they’d still need to have an account to deposit the funds into, making them totally traceable by a bank and police. That makes it a very undesirable option for them if they are thinking about that.

The US Postal Service has some additional mail security and theft recommendations posted on its website.

Here Is How To Blur Your Home On Google Street View