Lee County residents experiencing mail theft and bank fraud

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 5:04 PM EDT
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LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WTVM) - There are growing concerns in Lee County after multiple reports of mail theft.

Residents in Lee County might want to take that extra time to drop off any mail inside the post office.

That’s because an increase of checks and banking information are being stolen from mailboxes…both residential and post office drop boxes. Ashley Ledbetter was one of those victims.

“I had mailed that check for sixty-five dollars, and I got a call from our bank letting me know did I mean to write it out to a person I had never heard of for 6,000 dollars, and I was like…no,” said Ledbetter.

Ledbetter said the check was washed out and changed to the name Mardaris Means… Ledbetter said she dropped it off at post office drop boxes when later she received a call.

“It’s a real hassle and headache… certain banks will make you close down your account and create a new account, and that is what happened with us,” said Ledbetter.

Sheriff Jay Jones said they are receiving reports of check washing, which is exactly what happened to Ledbetter. This means when someone steals a check, they use a certain chemical to remove the ink, enabling the thief to write any amount they want on the check.

“They receive the money for the check, and the first notice that the victim will have is, of course, their bank statement showing that a check was cashed, and of course, it’s not to whom they intended it to go to,” said Jones.

Those checks are being made out between hundreds and thousands of dollars.

Here are ways to reduce the risks.,

  1. Take important mail inside the post office to be sent
  2. Use e-statements or pay bills online
  3. Don’t leave mail unattended in your mailbox for long periods of time
  4. Use security envelopes
  5. Keep an eye on your bank account for any fraudulent activity.

“Ensure your keeping a close look on your finances,” said Jones.

To leave a tip to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, click here.