How to Protect Your Business from Mail Fraud

Author: Denise Owens, SVP, Fraud Manager 12/21/2022

This time of year, you might say the Grinch is the most popular thief around. But how about the real-life fraudsters trying to steal your identity and money through your mail? While fraud tends to ramp up in the fourth quarter and around the holidays, mail fraud is an issue all year round.

How Does Mail Fraud Work?

According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, any fraud that uses the U.S. Mail®—whether it originates in the mail, by phone, or online—is mail fraud. This year, banks across the country have been experiencing a drastic increase in issues connected to mail fraud. The most common problems include business checks being altered—the endorsement for the payee is forged or fraudsters make a counterfeit check with the same information on it. In each of these instances, a business’ cash flow can be greatly affected and hindered after falling victim to mail fraud. That’s why it is so important to closely monitor your business’ accounts, especially during the busy holiday season.

Stay Alert

To avoid falling prey to mail fraud, keep these tips in mind.

  • Monitor your account closely so you can identify if an original item did not clear or if it’s payable to a different payee, instead of waiting for a vendor to reach out and say they didn’t receive a payment. This would identify altered checks.
  • Mail your checks from inside the post office instead of the blue boxes outside or your business location.
  • If your vendor contacts you that they did not receive payment, but you can see the check has cleared your account, contact the bank as soon as possible to start a Forged Endorsement claim. These claims must be sent to the bank that negotiated the check and can take some time to get a response back.

Keeping Your Money Safe

Keeping your money safe is as important to us as it is to you. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has resources available to help keep you and your mail safe. In addition, PlainsCapital Bank’s Fraud Department provides educational resources for businesses and individuals to help detect and prevent fraud. For more information about our fraud prevention efforts, visit our fraud resources page. There you will find articles about the most recent scams and how you can avoid falling victim to one.

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