What's old is new again – Low tech fraud is booming

posted by Brian Mudd -

What's old is new again – Low tech fraud is booming 

Bottom Line: A headline caught my attention recently. One of the fastest growing crimes continues to make use of our country's oldest means of transacting... Through the mail. According to officials the rate of "mail fishing" has more than doubled over the past five years. And what's mail fishing? It's actually a lot like it sounds. It's using devices to pull mail out of mailboxes. While much of it takes place out of home mail boxes, you should probably never put your flag up on your mail box these days, the most sophisticated will actually use tools to pull mail out of the blue USPS drop boxes – they're target rich after all. And you know that if there's a growing scam we're going to be right in the middle of the mix in Florida, especially south Florida, and that's the case. Florida has the 2nd  biggest issue with "mail phishing" in the country according to the government's identity theft task force. According to the task force as cyber security has tightened up it's more difficult for many of the domestic rings to successfully carry out online theft so they've been looking for other opportunities and this is it.  

One of the most pervasive forms of mail fishing theft is involving falsifying checks. If thieves get hold of a check, they can often manipulate the information on the check or use the information to create false checks, including with the use of your signature. So, what are some recommendations to avoid being a victim? 

  • Pay as many bills online as possible minimizing financial transactions through the mail 

  • Don't put the flag up on your mailbox 

  • Underline your signature when signing a check (thieves won't think to replicate this) 

Recently there was a study from the University of Texas in Austin that served as a reminder that the majority of ID theft and financial fraud is actually still taking place offline, 54% of all of it to be exact. So being diligent online is only slightly less than half of what you need to be doing to ensure you're not a victim.  

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