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FinCEN Alert on Nationwide Surge in Mail Theft-Related Check Fraud Schemes Targeting the U.S. Mail
Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
WASHINGTON—The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is issuing an alert to financial institutions on the nationwide surge in check fraud schemes targeting the U.S. Mail. Fraud, including check fraud, is the largest source of illicit proceeds in the United States and is one of the anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) National Priorities. In coordination with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), FinCEN has identified red flags to help financial institutions detect, prevent, and report suspicious activity connected to mail theft-related check fraud.
“FinCEN is proud to partner with the United States Postal Inspection Service in producing this important and timely alert on mail theft-related check fraud designed to assist financial institutions in reversing this disturbing trend,” said Acting Director Himamauli Das. “Their vigilance and timely reporting will help law enforcement identify illicit actors who steal mail with the goal of defrauding innocent American taxpayers and businesses.”
Criminals have been increasingly targeting the U.S. Mail and United States Postal Service mail carriers since the COVID-19 pandemic to commit check fraud. Criminals typically steal personal checks, business checks, tax refund checks, and checks related to government assistance programs, such as Social Security payments and unemployment benefits. Following the initial theft and fraudulent negotiation of the stolen checks, criminals may continue to exploit their victims by using the personal identifiable information found in the stolen mail for future fraud schemes, such as credit card fraud or credit account fraud.