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Woman: State tax check stolen from USPS collection box

Posted at 5:30 PM, Apr 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-03 21:07:33-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A woman who mailed out her state tax payment at a post office in Mira Mesa got a big shock a few days later.

A week ago, Barbara Reynolds wrote out a $469 check for her state taxes. She drove to her post office on Mira Mesa Boulevard and dropped it off around noon.

"I thought it was safer to come here," said Reynolds.

Days later, she got a call. A bank teller in San Juan Capistrano was looking at her check, but it looked a lot of different. The amount had been hiked a bit to $489. Instead of the state, the new payee was the name 'Marco Antonio Lopez Ramirez."

The teller shredded the check, suspicious because a man hoping to deposit the check had presented a dubious driver's license and an odd-looking check. As in other stolen check cases, the thief likely used a chemical solution to dissolve away the ink and 'wash' the check, before filling in the blanks.

"Very disappointed. It wasn't a good feeling at all," said Reynolds.

The feeling was made worse because of how that check was stolen. One possible cause is 'fishing,' where thieves use a simple string - connected to something like a rodent glue trap - to fish mail out of a collection box

In this case, Reynolds says the stolen check included her social security number.

"I'm very worried about identity theft. I won't be using the mail for future important documents or payments," said Reynolds.

Reynolds filed a report with police and the Postal Inspection Office. A Postal Inspection spokesperson says they haven't seen a surge in mail thefts at that location.