Postal workers robbed and researchers threatened in elaborate mail fraud scheme

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A fraud scheme has postal workers getting robbed at gunpoint and researchers believe some of these criminals were behind a robbery in Smyrna.

In March, police went to an apartment complex after a U.S. postal worker was robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight. Channel 2′s Michael Seiden was in Cobb County and researchers with GSU have been following this issue for months. They said this is all part of an elaborate mail fraud scheme, but the researchers asked to remain anonymous because they are receiving threats.

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When a metro Atlanta couple dropped off a $2,800 check to a plumbing company, they never thought it would be evidence in a massive mail fraud scheme.

“Normally , we don’t write checks because we are a bit of the younger generation,” they said. “The check was written and put in one of those drop boxes and at some point , some sort of crime happened.”

GSU researchers broke down the process of how the criminals do this.

They said organized crime groups and local gangs are robbing postal workers at gunpoint, stealing their keys, then raiding drop boxes. From there, they use dark web and messaging apps, such as telegram and WhatsApp, to sell the stolen checks to others.

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Once they get the checks, they use nail polish remover to get rid of the name.

Researchers said the thieves also sell the keys on apps for as much as $7,000.

Last October, only 78 checks were reported stolen in Georgia.

Since then, the numbers have exploded. Researchers are now seeing as many as 1,500 stolen checks per week.

A spokesman for the US Postal Service said they’re following this crime trend but they did not get into the details.

GSU researchers said if you want to protect yourself, it’s best to avoid mailing checks.

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