We all remember getting a check for $5 on our birthdays from grandma. Well these days grandmas, and everyone else, should probably just get a Venmo account. At the very least be aware of the risks that come with mailing checks.

Just like hunting for a movie at Blockbuster on Friday night, there is something special about getting a physical check for a special occasion. But it might not be worth the potential hazards that go along with it any longer. The same goes for paying bills with checks through the mail.

By sending a check through the mail you are opening yourself up to potential fraud, warns the United States Postal Service.

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Not only are criminals stealing and "washing" checks, but postal workers are at increasing risk of falling victim to thieves looking for these checks to steal.

“As crime rises, so do the threats against our public servants. The men and women of the Postal Service are walking our nation’s streets every day to fulfill our mission of delivering mail and packages to the American people. Every Postal employee deserves to work in safety and to be free from targeting by criminals seeking to access the public's mail.”

“We’re doubling down on our efforts to protect our Postal employees and the security of the mail. We are hardening targets – both physical and digital – to make them less desirable to thieves and working with our law enforcement partners to bring perpetrators to justice,” said Postal Inspection Service Chief Gary Barksdale.

How Does Check Washing Work?

It's actually pretty simple. If you've ever sent a check in the mail that was cashed, but the recipient said it never arrived? You may be the victim of check washing.

Check-washing scams involve "changing the payee names and often the dollar amounts on checks and fraudulently depositing them. Occasionally, these checks are stolen from mailboxes and washed in chemicals to remove the ink."

Click here for steps you can take steps to protect yourself.

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