Check is stolen from Upper West Side mailbox, local claims

An Upper West Sider resident recently claimed that a check he sent was stolen from a mailbox outside the post office on West 83rd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues. They allege that once the envelope was “stolen out of the box, the check [was] washed and $9,900 was stolen from my account. The individual states that the actual amount he wrote on the check was less.

The alleged victim, who asked to remain anonymous, started a thread on the Nextdoor app to alert neighbors to what had happened. “It’s the end of me sending anything unless it’s from inside a post office,” they wrote before another neighbor asked, “How do you know sure it was stolen from the box and not later in the delivery process?”

The question sparked differing opinions. One commentator argued that it could have been intercepted at the point of delivery, it could have fallen out of the mailbag, or the recipient could have accidentally dropped it. They went on to say, “It’s pretty easy to come up with a dozen simpler explanations than being robbed from a USPS box right outside a post office.”

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A neighbor shared his experience saying, “We all know UWS mailbox theft has been an ongoing problem for several years… I had a stolen check 2 years ago and it took 8 months and A LOT calls to Chase but got my money back. (The check has been clearly erased and altered).

The alleged anonymous victim told us that she is currently in the process of filing a fraud complaint with her bank, which hopes they will reimburse her. They also plan to file a police report with the 20th district. When asked how they will handle mail in the future, we were told, “I will never send a check anywhere again as long as I live. I’m electronic from now on! Besides being shocking and devastating, this experience has only heightened the terrible sense of discouragement I already have about the state of our city, our country and the world.

USPS employee Jennifer Morales also chimed in on the thread. When she spoke to ILTUWS, she offered that her best advice for sending anything of value is to bring it inside the post office. Morales also noted, “I would say give it straight to a carrier, but sometimes carriers get robbed.” Morales told us that thefts happen at the USPS and sometimes go unreported. “When they stole my [mailman’s] basket, they did not inform us. I may get in trouble for talking, but honestly they have to say something.

In late March, Bloomberg wrote about a study in which Georgia State professor David Maimon and a team of 15 students “scoured thousands of social media channels, group chats and dark websites. . Their efforts [included] compile images of checks for sale to search for patterns. By January 2022, Maimon and his team had documented 750 stolen checks in New York over the previous six months. The professor noted that the people committing these crimes didn’t seem the least bit concerned about getting caught either. “They post pictures of themselves with loads of money,” Maimon explains. “They are not hiding. They are cheeky.

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