Home security video catch person taking mail that results in $8,000 worth of fraudulent checks

Diane Wilson Image
Friday, February 16, 2024
Fraudulent checks created from stolen mail
Fraudulent checks created from stolen mail

HARNETT COUNTY, NC (WTVD) -- Mail was stolen right out of a homeowner's mailbox and a homeowner in Harnett County caught it all on camera.

Nina Koetter's home security video shows a white BMW pull up to her mailbox, and thieves swipe a piece of mail, right out of her mailbox. Inside the envelope was a check to pay her property taxes.

"I immediately put a stop payment on that check. Then I called the bank and they said they put a hard hold on it," Koetter adds.

She only checked her camera footage after neighbors posted on their community website their outgoing mail was missing. She says, "Anything with a red flag, the mailbox flag up, they checked it." In Koetter's case, she thought since she put a stop payment on the check she'd be fine.

"Just because it's one check doesn't mean it's just the one check, Koetter warns." That's because when she went online to look at her account, several checks were cashed right in a row. "I mean, they wrote $8,000 worth of checks," Koetter tells ABC11 Troubleshooter.

Stolen mail results in $8,000 worth of fraudulent checks | ABC11 Troubleshooter

The thieves used Koetter's account and routing numbers from the stolen check to make fraudulent ones that were then later cashed. She showed ABC11 Troubleshooter Diane Wilson the fraudulent checks that were made, "They didn't even look like real checks. There's no name or address in the corner. It does have the monogram of our last name, the initial in the corner. The bank name doesn't have an address or anything and who it's made out to isn't who endorsed it. So I'm not really even sure how they even got cashed."

Koetter reported this to the Harnett County Sheriff's Department, her bank, and the US Postal Inspectors.

Stolen mail results in $8,000 worth of fraudulent checks | ABC11 Troubleshooter

Mail theft is a growing problem, as police in Southern Pines issued a warning about an increase in mail thefts, specifically with checks being taken. Besides thieves making checks, police also issued a warning about check washing, which means they are being altered, forged, and cashed by alleged thieves.

When it comes to Koetter, her bank did refund her for all of the fraudulent checks, but she says she is not taking any more chances. "I actually installed a locking mailbox for incoming mail."

  • When it comes to your mailbox, don't let mail sit in there, get it right away
  • Use online bill pay when possible as this will reduce the number of checks you write

  • If you must write a check, use a gel ink pen

Certain types of gel ink cannot be washed off because they permeate below the surface of the paper.