GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- This Christmas season, protect yourself from holiday humbugs who aim to steal your identity.
Recently, the Grand Junction Police Department has taken seven reports of mail stolen right out of mailboxes, according to police spokesperson Kate Porras. The mail was then used to steal the owner’s identity.
Porras says in every case, thieves took personal checks sent to pay bills. Some thieves altered the information of the check, while others took the account information and printed checks with fake names.
So far, the fraudulent checks have been used to buy more than $5,000 worth of merchandise from local businesses.
It took weeks for some of the victims to realize what had happened. Usually, people find out their checks have been stolen when their bank calls, a business calls to let them know their bill is past due, or the victims’ bank statements don’t match up with check amounts.
Check theft is easy to avoid by avoiding your traditional mailbox. According to Porras, it’s much safer to use secured U.S. Postal Service mailboxes when sending out checks and gift cards, especially if they’re heading to a special someone. She says that red flag on your personal mailbox is like an invitation for thieves, letting them know something valuable may be inside.
If you have any information about these seven incidents, call the Grand Junction Police Department at 242-6707, call Crime Stoppers at 241-STOP, send the information via the web at www.241stop.com, or text CRIMES to 241STOP and include your tip information.