Thefts from apartment drop boxes are on the rise and residents need to take precautions to protect their checks and bank accounts, Fresno police said Wednesday.
Thieves are targeting drop boxes especially at the end of the month to obtain checks and money orders.
Lt. Don Gross said that once a check is stolen, thieves change the name on the check to cash it. Thieves cash the checks throughout California and also can make payments by telephone or on the Internet.
"More critical, they print their own checks with the bank and routing number of the stolen check," Gross said.
Thieves will go to any length to plunder the drop-box contents, even if it means stealing the whole box, Gross said.
"Suspects can empty a box in just a couple of minutes," he said.
Police advise residents who use drop boxes not to put checks in them overnight and to use a money order as a last resort.
The most secure way for a tenant to turn in a check is to bring it to the recipient during regular business hours, Gross said.
If a check is stolen, the resident should contact the bank immediately, close the account and open a new one, police say.
"This is a hassle, but it's more of a hassle when your bank account is empty and you can't pay your bills," Gross said.
Apartment managers are also encouraged to empty drop boxes nightly.
Residents victimized by drop-box thefts can file a report at www.fresno.gov/reportcrime.
USE NOTICE. Tenants Together is not the author of this article and the posting
of this document does not imply any endorsement of the content by Tenants
Together. This document may contain copyrighted material the use of which
may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Tenants
Together is making this article available on our website in an effort to
advance the understanding of tenant rights issues in California. We believe
that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided
for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use this
copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you
must obtain permission from the copyright owner.