There have been almost 20 reported incidents of checks getting intercepted once they’ve been dropped off at the U.S. post office in Orangeburg since Oct. 1, 2022.
Orangeburg Department of Public Safety Director Charles Austin Sr. said 14 reported incidents occurred between Oct. 1, 2022 and Jan. 29, 2023. Between February and March, there have been a few more incidents of checks being intercepted.
The number of incidents reported in the past six months is, “very concerning,” Austin said.
ODPS and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are investigating the cases together.
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is aware of the alleged mail thefts that occurred at the post office in Orangeburg, S.C. This is an ongoing investigation and specifics can’t be shared at this time,” U.S. Postal Inspector Jessica Adams said.
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There are similarities in the reported cases.
For example, after a person mails a check, someone intercepts the check and alters the payee and the amount. The check is then deposited electronically through a phone or other smart device.
Austin said in one incident, a man mailed a money order which someone intercepted.
Now the man is facing late fees from the company he owed.
In another incident, a local physician mailed a $3,000 check to a vendor, but the check never made it to the vendor.
Instead, it was intercepted by some unknown person.
The physician said as a result of the fraudulent activity, his bank automatically shut down his business’s bank account as a safety precaution.
He then had to set up a new account at a different bank.
“It was a total nightmare,” the physician said.
It took several weeks to get worked out.
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