UNION COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Some checks in Union County haven’t been making it to their destination. There have been several reports of mail being taken from post office drop boxes.
The Sheriff’s Office said they started receiving reports in mid-February for checks being taken from drop boxes and being forged in other names.
A victim 7NEWS spoke with said it’s been frustrating and took weeks to fix.
“People just don’t realize what they put people through when they do stuff like that,” said Richie Brown.
Brown said his wife went to deposit a check on Sunday, Feb. 19 at the Jonesville Post Office drop box.
“The Wednesday following that, we were notified by our bank that our checking account had been compromised. The bank account we’ve had for 30 years,” he said.
He said the person who stole their check had changed the amount.
“The check was made out for $158.86. The person that done it altered the check to $5,800.86 and tried to deposit it at an ATM in another county,” said Brown.
He and his wife had to change their routing and accounting numbers.
“We had to go through a lot of processes to get all our accounts changed, where we had to pay bills to and stuff like that,” he said.
Captain Scott Coffer, with the Sheriff’s Office, said Brown’s report is one of many.
“This morning we had another citizen call and stated that her check that she had put in the mailbox, in Union, had been made out to someone else for a car purchase,” said Coffer. “Did not know who it was and we found out that it had been deposited to another bank.”
The reports have come in at different times, but Captain Coffer said they think the people have been sitting on the checks, and depositing them at different times.
“The timeframe is that all the mailboxes were hit at one time. So, we feel like it’s the same people,” he said.
Coffer said it’s early on in their investigation, but through working with other agencies, are aware of reports in the Upstate and down the coast.
The Sheriff’s Office has made one arrest and have several persons of interest.
“The people who are of interest to us are throughout the whole state. We feel like this may be a ring,” said Coffer.
He said people are prying off the panel of the drop boxes and forging these checks through technology, by mobile deposit or going to an ATM.
Coffer said through state law, people can be charged with larceny, forgery and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Through the post office, he said people can be charged federally for mail tampering.
Investigators said people need to be on the look out in case this has happened to them. Especially if any citizens dropped off any checks, or valuables at the Jonesville or Union Post Office, in mid-February.
Coffer said people need to take extra measures and bring all their checks, money and valuables inside the post office. Check your bank accounts regularly and if something is off, contact the Sheriff’s Office at (864) 429-1612.