News Flash


Posted on: March 13, 2023

Message from the Police Chief: Be Aware of Check "Washing"


There has been a recent increase in the number of incidents regarding checks stolen from the mail. Stolen checks are “washed”: this is a type of fraud that occurs when the check is treated to remove its ink. The check is then rewritten with a higher amount, addressed to a new payee, and deposited or cashed. Often, victims do not detect check washing until much later, when they review their bank statement or if/when their bank calls to confirm a suspicious-looking check.  

The Winnetka Police Department has been sharing information about these cases with the U.S. Postal Service, which ultimately has jurisdiction over these matters. Check thefts and check washing are not unique to Winnetka: they occur throughout the country. Mailed checks can be stolen at any point between post office drop boxes and the intended delivery destination.

To prevent this type of crime, the Police Department recommends delivering payment via alternate means instead of mailing checks. Other options could include online bank transfers, cash payment applications, phone payments, etc.  

If you have been a victim of a washed check incident or have questions, please contact the Winnetka Police Department: 847-501-6034.  

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