BPD warns of ‘check washing’ scam

Perhaps "thieves coming up with new ways to steal money" should be added to the old death and taxes saying.

Recently, people across Connecticut have fallen victim to a sceme known as “check washing.” In this scam, personal checks are stolen from post office drop boxes and altered so that funds end up in the hands of criminals.

“Unfortunately, it’s sad that here we now have to worry about checks that we’re writing to pay bills," Lisa Dadio, University of New Haven law enforcement expert, told WFSB. “They are, theoretically, washing the check using some type of chemical process to remove some of the information and alter it." 

In a Feb. 2 social media message, the Berlin Police Department said it has "received an increased number of complaints" regarding incidents of check washing.

"The checks are being altered by the thieves, who are changing the payee and the amount and then cashing or depositing the checks," the PD states. "Victims are often made aware of the theft when the intended recipient does not receive payment."

To protect against “check washing” scammers, the Berlin Police Department urges residents to avoid using public mailboxes to send "valuable items or anything containing private information." The department suggests going inside the post office to ship such things.

The Berlin PD said, "The U.S. Postal Inspectors are aware of this issue and have been working with local law enforcement."

Residents who believe they have been a victim of check washing should contact the Berlin Police Department at 860-828-7080.




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