The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is witnessing a surge in robberies and mail theft incidents, raising concerns over the safety of sending checks via mail. More than 300 mail carriers were robbed and over 25,000 cases of mail thefts were reported from October 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023. While USPS hasn’t officially warned against mailing personal checks, experts suggest consumers exercise caution and consider online payments as a more secure alternative.
In response to this rising crime trend, USPS and the Postal Inspection Service, the law enforcement and security branch of USPS, have initiated measures to protect Postal Service employees and prevent mail theft. Their plan includes deploying 12,000 high-security collection boxes and replacing 49,000 traditional locks with electronic ones. Despite these precautions, some, including Representative Kweisi Mfume (D-Maryland), believe the agencies should adopt a more aggressive stance on mail theft and carrier safety.
The increased crime has sparked legislative action, with bipartisan support for the Postal Police Reform Act, proposed in May, which seeks to grant Postal police officers greater authority to protect the mail system. This rising concern is despite the decreasing use of checks in the U.S., with Americans writing roughly 3.4 billion checks in 2022, a sharp drop from nearly 19 billion checks in 1990. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, part of the Treasury Department, has noted an uptick in check fraud via U.S. Mail since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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