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Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office warns of rise in check fraud this holiday season

'We ask that you send those checks out to a secure mail location,' Detective Desire'e McGovern says
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Posted at 3:01 PM, Nov 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-22 18:54:00-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — It's the holiday season and many of you may be thinking of sending money or gift cards to your loved ones this year.

At a joint press conference on Wednesday with the Better Business Bureau and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, authorities reminded the public to be careful mailing money or gift cards.

“Mail thefts have been on the rise. I know with the holiday season upon us, people are going to be sending gift cards and checks out through the mail," Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Special Units Investigations Detective Desire'e McGovern said. "We ask that you send those checks out to a secure mail location."

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Special Units Investigations Detective Desire'e McGovern
Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Special Units Investigations Detective Desire'e McGovern explains the risk of using outdoor USPS boxes to mail checks and giftcards.

Earlier this year, WPTV spoke with several business owners and residents in Delray Beach, Boynton Beach and Boca Raton who said they lost thousands of dollars after putting checks in USPS collection boxes. A lot of the cases were tied to the same box in Boynton Beach at the post office on Jog Road.

Ultimately, several arrests were made by Delray Beach Police Department a short time later.

Authorities said the riskiest place to drop money is in your personal mailbox and also in the outdoor USPS collection bins.

“These checks are stolen from the mail slots," McGovern said. "They are then altered and negotiated for thousands of dollars more than they were intended.”

USPS said you should always walk your money or checks inside the post office or consider sending money or gift cards online instead.