Foxboro police cruisers

Foxboro Police cruisers. (File photo)

FOXBORO — Police and U.S. postal inspectors are investigating instances of check fraud related to “mailbox fishing.”

The term is used to describe a crime in which thieves use makeshift devices to “fish” out letters in the hope of obtaining checks, money orders, gift cards or any type of personal or financial information from mailboxes, according to police.

Thieves target stand-alone boxes and use chemicals to alter the information on documents they obtain from the mail so they can cash the checks or money orders.

The most effective way to protect yourself against this type of activity, according to police, is to deposit mail into the deposit boxes or bins inside the post office.

Police say thieves prefer to target the mailboxes at night, so it may also be best to avoid depositing mail during off hours.

People should also scrutinize bank statements to be sure that personal checks you write are being cashed for the correct amount and by the appropriate person or institution.

Any residents who believe they may have been a victim should call their local police department or the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).

David Linton may be reached at 508-236-0338.

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