‘It’s overwhelming,’ cry couple who lost $22k just trying to pay taxes – officials warn of widespread ‘breaches’

A COUPLE has lost $22,000 after their checks were stolen from U.S. Postal Service mail boxes.

The shocked homeowners had no idea theft from the boxes was a possibility since they were on post office property.

A couple lost $22,000 after their checks were stolen from the boxes at the post officeCredit: CBS News Colorado

This is a new scam, but the USPS has already heightened the security on 10,000 boxesCredit: CBS News Colorado

“We’ve gone to that set of boxes at the Federal Center for the last 40 years,” Linda Chisholm told CBS News.

Chisholm and her husband, Jay, used the boxes to pay their property taxes, thinking they were a safe option.

“I don’t know what we assumed; I think we thought someone was watching it, but they weren’t,” she said.

All three of their checks were stolen, but one was washed and reused by the thieves.

“It was $22,000; they did cash it, and they did take it out of our account,” Jay said.

Colorado’s Jefferson County Treasurer Jerry DiTullio said there are many cases like the Chisholms’ and worries that with another payment period approaching, the thieves could strike again.

“My fear is that people aren’t going to hear this report, and they are going to drop that payment in the box,” DiTullio said.

“The best way to do it is to bring it in person or walk it inside and pay and give that to the clerk,” he advised.

‘IT’S STRESSFUL’

The Chisholm’s are working with their bank to get their money back.

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“It’s overwhelming, and it’s very — it’s stressful,” Chisholm said.

This kind of scam is new and, in response, the United Postal Service has upgraded 10,000 to better meet the security risk.

DiTullio is also surprised by the rise in reports saying, “We haven’t had this problem in the past, it seems like there’s an uptick in problems with USPS boxes being breached.”

MORE SCAMS

Though this specific check theft is new, check washing is not.

One woman wrote a check for $525 but ended up losing $18,000 when her check was stolen and reused.

Afreida Wade wrote a check for maintenance from her condo board association account for $525 in 2022.

However, the check was cashed in New York rather than Metro Detroit and was for over $18,000.

Wade filed a claim with Citizens Bank and the Van Burden Police Department, but it has been “ongoing.”

“It’s been ongoing. It’s been escalated to the chairman of Citizens Bank, and all that we’ve been getting are a lot of answers like, ‘Okay, we’ll get right back with you, check back in a week, check back in two weeks,’” Wade told local NBC affiliate WDIV.

“As an organization, I guess our concern is that we put our money in the bank to be safe. If Citizens Bank can’t keep our money safe, then we might as well keep it under a mattress.”

Due to the unforeseen money loss, the association was unable to make the repairs they planned to.

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