Wellesley residents warn of renewed check thievery

new wellesley mailbox on Washington Street near Weston Road intersection

The Wellesley Police log is frequently peppered with various incidents of fraud, including check fraud, and residents say things have gotten worse lately.

One reader wrote recently of having noticed noticed an unauthorized $10,000 withdrawal from their bank account. “Long story short—after notifying the bank and doing some investigation, I contacted the Wellesley police to report this. I then learned that my loss was one of a number that occurred following theft of mail from post office boxes in town.”

Fortunately for that resident, their bank reversed the withdrawal after receiving a detailed memo from the customer about the theft that included the police report. The customer has emailed friends warning them of the situation as well.

The theft brought back bad memories of the fishing scheme that crooks unleashed on the town back in 2019, in which they would lower sticky mouse traps via wire into mailboxes and snag checks. Then they’d alter the information on the checks and cash them illegally. The U. S. Postal Service responded by retrofitting mailboxes with devices to thwart such theft.

But now we hear thieves have become even more brazen in town.

A reader wrote that a neighbor had their mail stolen out of a mailbox outside the post office in Wellesley Square.

“Rather than the ‘fishing’ that happened in 2019 and led to the new more restrictive mail slots, now the thieves are taking the access doors off the mailboxes, stealing envelopes, altering checks and cashing them,” the reader wrote. “As you can imagine, when this happens it is a lot of work to clear this up with the bank, whoever the check was originally for, etc. So once again the advice is to deposit your mail inside the post office.”

We reached out to the Wellesley Police Department earlier in the week and they said they were planning to issue a public service announcement, which they have. The police say other communities are experiencing similar crime.

Among the advice from the police is to mail checks from within a post office when possible. If using a public mailbox, check that a collection will take place that day. And avoid mailing checks from your home mailbox.