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Spotlight: Intercepted mail results in check scams

Incidents of fraud are on the rise across the country, but they have hit close to home in recent months. Newton mayor Ruthanne Fuller recently issued the following statement after multiple incidents of check fraud were reported to the authorities. In the mayor’s words:

“Check fraud is no small matter, and certainly not a thing of the past. In Newton, reported incidents of fraud and check fraud increased from 13 in 2021 to 102 cases so far in 2022, and the year isn’t yet over.

Several Newton residents alerted us to their property tax or water/sewer bills being intercepted in the mail and cashed by fraudsters.

Newton Police are on the case. Just last week, Officer Raymond Chieu and Lt. David Tempesta received letters of commendation from Chief John Carmichael for their work investigating and arresting a suspect in the midst of stealing mail from a mailbox at the Auburndale Post Office. (Read the letter of commendation here.)

The City of Newton offers secure, online payment on our website at newtonma.gov. for City bills. The payment drop box in the front circle at City Hall (1000 Commonwealth Avenue) is video monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Payments can be made in person at the Treasury Department on the first floor of City Hall during business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.”

At The Village Bank, the safety of our customers and citizens is a top priority. Here are some recommended measures to guard against check and mail fraud:

  • Keep check stock and any blank checks in a safe place.
  • Never sign checks in advance while leaving the amount and payee blank.
  • Convert check payments to digital or electronic payment channels.
  • Use mailboxes inside United States Postal Service offices or deposit in boxes close to pick-up times.
  • Check your accounts to make sure checks written are cashed for the intended amount

Trending: ‘Tis the season (holiday scams)

The holidays are a time for family, friends and fun memories. Many families travel during the holiday season, and unfortunately, there are people out there who take advantage and prey on travelers. Travel scams come in all shapes and sizes. The Federal Trade Commission describes many of these scams and how to avoid them. The most common scams include:

  • “Free” vacations
  • Robocalls about vacation deals
  • Travel document scams
  • Vacation home scams

Please take extra caution this season to use trusted sources and protect your personal information when making travel plans.

Read more from the Federal Trade Commission.

Awareness: Zelle scams

The Village Bank recently added Zelle to its menu of financial tools for customers. With usage of Zelle, Venmo and other popular apps on the rise across the country, incidents of fraud and scams also are increasing. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts offers helpful information about these scams and how to avoid them.

Get the latest information from Mass.gov.

If you believe you have been the victim of fraud, contact our Customer Care Center immediately at (617) 969-4300 and report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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FRAUD ALERT: Our customers recently have received calls from individuals claiming to work for The Village Bank. These callers ask for personal/account information such as an account verification code (RSA) or PIN. If you receive a call like this, please hang up immediately and contact us directly. The Village Bank will NEVER call, email or text you asking for personal information. Thank you.
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