Sheriff Cautions Violet Residents – Don’t Mail Checks Using USPS Blue Boxes!

November 19, 2022
By Rachel Scofield

The Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office posted the following statement:

The Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office is investigating several bank fraud cases that have originated in the Violet Township/Pickerington area. These cases involve the theft of mail from the satellite USPS mailboxes located in and around the Pickerington area. Unidentified subjects, in an unidentified vehicle type, have been observed on marginal surveillance video using what appears to be access keys to these mailboxes and stealing mail that has been deposited. Personal checks, etc. have been altered and cashed resulting in financial loss to the check issuer.

The USPS is aware of these incidents. The Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office Detective Bureau is actively investigating. Please use the USPS mail deposit boxes inside the Post Office until further notice. Anyone with any information regarding these mail thefts contact the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office- Detective Bureau at 740-652-7911.

According to the Washington Post starting “with the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a massive spike in checks being stolen from the mail across the United States and used in financial fraud. In March, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service alerted the Justice Department.”

The Postal Service uses a universal key, known as an arrow key, to access collection boxes, outdoor parcel lockers, cluster box units, and apartment panels. Supervisors assign these keys to letter carriers. Carriers must keep arrow keys secured to their belts or clothing by a chain while on duty and return the keys at the end of their shift.

The Cincinnati office of the US Postal Inspection Service could not comment on the specific investigations, but did say that the blue boxes are safe to use. However, the office did offer recommendations. Place mail in boxes minutes before the posted pick-up times to avoid mail remaining in boxes overnight. Go inside post offices to either hand mail to staff or to deposit it in the lobby’s outgoing mail slot.

Arrow keys access blue mail boxes. Image from US Postal Service Office of Inspector General

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