OKLAHOMA COUNTY (KFOR) – Scam alert! Check fraud is on the rise again across Oklahoma County. Thieves are finding new ways to steal your checks. It’s becoming more and more common. The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office is seeing many seniors falling victim to these scams.
“Check fraud is on the rise again,” Deputy Tara Hardin, hosts SALT program, Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy Tara Hardin hosts the SALT program at the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office. She teaches hundreds of senior’s ways to avoid being the target of a scam.
Hardin says, in the area and even nationwide, scammers are making a huge come back.
“Be sure to use gel ink when writing your checks. Do not use normal ballpoint ink, which can be easily washed from your check if it is stolen. Gel ink does not cost any more. You simply have to look for it when you buy a pen to use with your checks to protect your checks from being stolen,” said Hardin.
Another issue the sheriff’s office is seeing is thieves breaking into the outside post office mailboxes.
“Take them inside the post office and place them into the wall slot. The big blue mailboxes are being broken into and checks are being stolen from them. Never mail checks from your home mailbox. Thieves look for the red flags on mailboxes,” said Hardin.
We brought a similar story to you back in September. You can read the whole story here. An Oklahoma woman claimed someone stole her mail that included three written checks to pay bills. She said someone stole it from at an outdoor U.S. Postal Office drive-thru mailbox in Oklahoma City.
“Now I have alerts all over my bank account. So, anything that goes through, I can check, see if it’s legitimate,” said Mary Frantz, had mail stolen.
Hardin also suggests to never carry your checkbook in your purse or your car.
“Make sure to leave it at home in a secure location such as a safe,” said Hardin.
Mail theft of any kind is a federal crime, and carries a hefty penalty.
“Five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine,” said Ed Blau, legal expert.
If you want to learn more about how you can avoid becoming a victim of the latest scam, fraud or crime targeting seniors, you can join Deputy Hardin at one of the 19 monthly meetings held across Oklahoma County.
You can find a meeting near you by calling the office at (405)869-2555.