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Theft ring may be 'fishing' for checks at local post offices

Posted at 4:48 PM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 20:20:44-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A possible theft ring may be 'fishing' for checks at local post offices.

Kevin, who owns a small business, mailed out several checks to vendors at the post office in Poway on a Friday night. On the next Tuesday morning last month, he got a call from his bank, Wells Fargo.

A woman had tried to cash a fake check at a bank in Los Angeles, a typed check for nearly $2,500 written out to a woman's name from Kevin's business. The bank rejected it.

The bank representative then asked him about two other checks that had just been deposited at other branches. The two fake checks - written out to a different woman for some $850 each - had been deposited for cash in the Los Angeles area.

"There's definitely anxiety. You don't know how much money has been compromised," said Kevin.

Kevin is not alone. In April, 10news featured the story of Barbara Reynolds and her state tax check, stolen and altered after she dropped it off at post office in Mira Mesa. Her check was likely 'fished' out by thieves using a rodent glue trap, before being washed. A chemical solution dissolves away the ink, allowing a thief to fill in the blanks.

Another theft victim told 10news the Postal Inspection Service supervisor described to him a possible theft ring that has hit post offices in Encinitas, Poway and Mira Mesa in recent months. 10news has also tracked down reports of similar thefts in Sorrento Valley and Rancho Bernardo.

"It's frustrating. Never crossed my mind that something dropped off at post office could be compromised," said Kevin.

Kevin's bank did cover the loss of the fake checks. 10news reached to the Postal Inspection Service but haven't heard back.

Experts say use the slots inside the post office and if you do use an outside collection box, drop off your mail before the final collection time.