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Postal Service Making Boxes Tamper-Proof To Thwart Mail 'Fishing'

The U.S. Postal Service is retrofitting its boxes with slots instead of pull-down "snorkels" in an attempt to thwart folks who "fish" for cash or checks in the mail.
The U.S. Postal Service is retrofitting its boxes with slots instead of pull-down "snorkels" in an attempt to thwart folks who "fish" for cash or checks in the mail. Photo Credit: Provided

CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. – Scams are like the whack-a-mole game at your local arcade, say Clarkstown police; Just when authorities like they’ve got them all figured out, another one pops up.

The U.S. Postal Service has alerted local authorities to a rise in the number of “mail fishing” cases, police say.

Plans are underway to install tamper-resistant mailboxes.

The new boxes will no longer have a “snorkel,” the drop-down device that allows folks to drop the mail in -- and the thieves to “fish” it out, using long devices with something sticky on the end.

The hoped-for catch is usually cash or checks, but thieves could also be hunting for personal information they could use to steal someone’s identity.

The new boxes will instead have just a slot for letters.

Clarkstown police, while saying many scams -- especially those perpetrated by fraudsters outside the country -- are hard to catch, said this is one that folks can prevent with a little common sense.

Because nothing is completely fool-proof, they and the USPS are advising the public not to drop off mail at the boxes after the last pick-up.

Nighttime is when most of these “anglers” strike, police said.

Under federal law, mail theft is a felony.

Those convicted of stealing mail could face up to five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

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