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USPS mailboxes

A sudden spike in reports of mailbox fishing incidents in Glendale recently prompted local leaders to warn the community, and even the mailboxes designed to prevent fishing aren’t safe.

On July 29, Councilman Robert Holden released an advisory on his Facebook page noting an “avid increase” in mailbox fishing after receiving information from the 104th Precinct. In the advisory, Holden said that “even the new retrofitted mailboxes are still being fished for mail.”

When asked for more details, Detective Thomas Bell of the Community Affairs Unit said that the precinct received 10 reports of mailbox fishing that are under investigation during the most recent 28-day period. In addition, there are five reports of mailbox fishing from earlier in the year that are being investigated in other jurisdictions because they involved checks that were cashed outside the precinct, according to Bell.

Mailbox fishing has been one of the most talked about crimes in Queens this year. The criminal practice involves using a long tool or object to reach down inside of public mailboxes to retrieve valuable mail such as checks, money orders or personal information. Once a criminal has the mail, identities can be stolen or checks can be washed, rewritten and cashed for large sums of money.

In April, the 104th Precinct Community Council invited Postal Inspector Dyllan O’Neill to speak at a meeting and he said that all of the mailboxes in front of post offices in the Flushing-area ZIP codes had already been altered in an attempt to prevent fishing.

With the sudden re-emergence of this crime in Glendale, the 104th Precinct once again released the following tips aimed at preventing mailbox fishing:

  • Drop mail containing checks inside the post office to ensure that your mail is not stolen from a mailbox.
  • When writing checks, use permanent ink that cannot be erased.
  • Check your account balance frequently to ensure that the proper amount is debited.
  • Pick up your incoming mail in your mailbox as early and as frequently as possible.
  • If you have to use a public mailbox, drop off mail as close to the last collection time as possible.
  • Avoid leaving outgoing mail in mailboxes on Sundays or holidays when mail carriers aren’t working.
  • Shred canceled or voided checks, credit card statements and any other mail which contains your personal identifying information.
  • If you see anyone tampering with a mailbox, report it immediately to 911.

For any further details and information, residents are encouraged to call the 104th Precinct Crime Prevention Officers at 718-386-6223.

 

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