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Plano residents concerned about overstuffed mail collection boxes at USPS

Plano residents concerned about overstuffed mail collection boxes at USPS
Plano residents concerned about overstuffed mail collection boxes at USPS 02:59

PLANO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Check fraud is already becoming a rampant problem and some believe overstuffed mail collection boxes in Plano aren't helping to slow it down. 

Larry Strauss was under a deadline to get an IRS check in the mail. 

The 76-year-old retiree dropped it off in a collection box outside the U.S. Postal Service branch on Coit Road in Plano. 

"When I mailed a check to the IRS, I also mailed a check to my son," he said.

Soon Strauss was getting alerts from his banks about possible fraud on his account. Both mailed checks were stolen and rewritten to other people for higher amounts, a process called washing and cashing. 

"I had to change all of my user mail and my passcodes and my user name on my accounts because somebody has that information," Strauss said.

Strauss believes he became a victim because for months, the two outdoor collection boxes at the branch have been so packed with mail at times, anyone could easily reach in and grab whatever they wanted. 

"I thought I wedged it down enough there would be no problem," he said.

Some of these photos were taken around the time Strauss had his mail stolen.


Other Plano residents have complained about it and a frustrated postal customer even placed a sticker on one of the boxes saying "we actually do not pick up at 5, hence the overflowing box."

In a statement to CBS 11 News, the postal service said:

"Local postal management in Plano is aware of recent customer concerns regarding collection boxes and has taken immediate steps to ensure outgoing mail is handled properly and that all collection boxes are clear. Any customer who has a concern about mail security is reminded that they may also deposit outgoing items inside our Post Office in the lobby drop box.  We apologize for any inconvenience that may have been experienced."

It's been more than an inconvenience for Strauss, who's worried that a lot of his personal information has been compromised and he's still waiting for a bank to reimburse one of the fraudulent checks. 

"Unfortunately, when I mailed the letters, whoever was supposed to empty that mailbox was one of those people who didn't care," he said.

What's happening here should also serve as a general warning about sending checks through the mail. Recent data shows an alarming increase in check fraud and that every week in the U.S. around 1,300 stolen checks are posted for sale on the dark web.

Today we noticed the collection boxes at the West Plano branch being emptied within an hour of the designated time of 5 p.m. 

But it doesn't matter to Strauss who no longer trusts using them. 

"...Once again, if you have to pay a bill, don't send a check via the post office," Strauss said.

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