- Pay your bills online. “As long as you’re not on a public Wi-Fi connection, paying bills online is safer than a check through the mail”, says Amy Nofziger, AARP’s director of fraud victim support. “Your bank account and the payment systems for your bills are encrypted.”
- Deliver your mail to a post office. Don’t leave envelopes containing checks in your own mailbox or in outdoor USPS collection boxes after the last pickup time, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service recommends. Best bet: Take your letter to your nearest post office during business hours and either hand it to a clerk or slide it through an outgoing mail slot inside the building.
- Use a pen with blue or black non-erasable gel ink. Gel ink soaks into paper and may be more difficult to remove than ballpoint pen ink, according to authorities.
- Don’t let delivered mail sit in your mailbox. Grab your mail every day, as close to the delivery time as possible. If you’ll be away, ask a trusted friend to collect it or have the post office hold it until you’re back home.
- Monitor your bank account. Don’t wait for your monthly statement. Go online every few days to review account balances and look at checks drawn against them.
- Report incidents quickly. Contact your bank as soon as possible after suspicious activity; banks are generally required to replace funds stolen via fraudulent checks, but only if the scam is reported within 30 days of the date of your bank statement. Also, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and credit reporting agencies.
Source: AARP Bulletin