PICKERINGTON, OH (WCMH) — Mail has mysteriously vanished in Pickerington only to turn up as fraudulent cashed checks.
Three victims have come forward to Pickerington police. Two of them said they put mail in one of the postal drop boxes in front of the Pickerington Hill Road Post Office. The other said she had checks mailed to her that would have been routed through that post office.
So far, 11 checks for a total of $5,443 were stolen and then cashed. One victim said his checks amounts were then inflated from their original amount.
“In fact some of them which were for utilities and other items had been altered and cashed,” said Detective John Vacca, who is investigating the theft cases for Pickerington Police.
That victim told NBC4 someone digitized the checks, leaving his wife’s signature, but changed the amounts on two checks to $2,000 a piece. The scammer then cashed both checks at Huntington Bank.
Tracy Uhrig was waiting on three checks mailed to her through the Hill Road post office in Pickerington.
“I had contacted Geico regarding a missing check that they sent to me as a reimbursement, and they told me it was cashed! I’m like that is not possible, I haven’t received the check,” said Uhrig.
There are differences in how the checks were delivered. One of the victims said he dropped off two checks to pay bills at the Post Office box on a Sunday, and the other said she dropped off six checks for bills around the same day. But in Uhrig’s case, she said a check from the State of Ohio and another one from the school district for a tax refund along with the Geico check should have been delivered to her apartment mailbox which has a keyed lock on it. She confirmed police said the box had not been tampered with.
Police said it was not just checks stolen.
“Items that have been taken are anything from packages that were delivered, to checks that were mailed, to cards that were not received from family,” Detective Vacca said.
Uhrig said she is not only concerned about the thefts, but how the checks were cashed.
“That is the thing that baffles me, because when I try to cash a check you have to have your driver’s license or anything, so how did they cash them? Uhrig said.
Postal Inspectors have the authority to investigate how mail was stolen and if an employee was involved. They admit to NBC4 there is an investigation but little else.
“I would recommend to anyone who suspects they have had mail stolen, should contact three credit bureaus and also the Social Security Administration to put fraud alerts on your credit, that way they can monitor who is trying to get credit in your name,” Detective Vacca advises.