JOPLIN, MO-- Joplin police are warning of a growing trend targeting your checkbook. Officers say they've seen nearly a dozen reports of personal checks stolen out of mailboxes. The thieves then use a chemical wash to remove the recipient's name - replacing it with their own. The suspects are then able to cash a legitimate check - diverting the cash to their own pockets.
Joplin Police Lt. Darren Gallup said, "These types of activities have been around a long time. People are just being innovative in they way they're using commonly found chemicals to do this thing."
Police say it's a good idea to only drop mail containing checks in secured mailboxes. Never leave the payee line or amount blank... and when possible use a black gel pen which is harder to remove. Also be sure to check your statement regularly and report fraud if a check has been altered.