Warning: Do Not Use Blue USPS Mailboxes In Buffalo, Mail May Be Stolen
If you use the United States Postal Service's blue mailboxes to send mail, you should stop. Whenever I have to mail something important because they used to be more secure. But, alas, not anymore.
Suspect Arrested In Mail Thefts Around Buffalo
Keys to the iconic blue mailboxes have been stolen recently. If criminals are swiping keys, they are doing it to get to your mail.
A witness said they noticed a man on a bike, who was not a USPS mailman, rummaging through a mailbox on the corner of Briggs Avenue and Tonawanda Street in Buffalo. The same thief was spotted at the Tops on Elmwood Avenue near Hertel Avenue, also stealing from the mailbox.
The U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York says the man believed to be responsible for the mail thefts has been arrested. The 41-year-old man, Eric Steven Arroyo of Buffalo, was charged with theft or receipt of stolen mail. He was witnessed using a key to unlock the blue mailboxes to steal the mail. Buffalo Police apprehended Arroyo, who was sitting behind a building opening the mail. He is facing a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
USPS Issues Warning About 'Check Washing' Schemes Involving Blue Mailboxes
Thieves are stealing mail from blue mailboxes to look for mail that may contain cash, but your checks may not be safe either. The USPS warns of 'check washing' which involves a scammer stealing your checks and using chemicals to remove the original ink. They then re-write the checks using their information and draw higher amounts of money with the checks.
Credit: US Postal Inspection Service via Youtube
Tips To Keep Your Mail Safe
- Don't drop mail in a blue mailbox after the posted mail pick-up time
- Deposit mail in a blue box right before the last collection time
- Drop off mail that includes checks into a secure box at your local post office
- Do not mail cash
One thing we know for sure is that scammers will work hard to not work hard. They will spend an extreme amount of effort and energy on stealing from hard-working New Yorkers.