Mail fishing is a federal crime in which envelopes containing checks and sensitive documents with information such as bank, credit card, and Social Security numbers are “fished out” of curbside mailboxes by crafty crooks using makeshift rods.
By Michael V. Cusenza
A key appropriations bill provision that seeks to combat “mail fishing” has passed the House, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) announced Friday.
Mail fishing is a federal crime in which envelopes containing checks and sensitive documents with information such as bank, credit card, and Social Security numbers are “fished out” of curbside mailboxes by crafty crooks using makeshift rods: many times it is an adhesive slathered all over a weighted, 16- or 20-ounce bottle attached to the end of a string or rope. The perpetrators then cash in at banks or check-cashing establishments through various deceitful methods.
The provision, which Meng authored, would direct the U.S. Postal Service to report on the status of all collection boxes that have been retrofitted with narrow mail slots. Retrofitting collection boxes with narrower slots makes it more difficult for thieves to steal the mail that is inside.
According to the measure, the Postal Service’s report must detail where, how, and why such retrofits have been made, and include a strategic plan for retrofitting additional collection boxes. The report must also include an estimate of the resources necessary for such a plan to be carried out throughout the entire country, and it must be completed no later than 180 days after the enactment of the Meng’s provision.
“Mail fishing continues to impact too many Americans and action is needed to stop this mail theft crime from occurring,” said Meng. “In 2018, the Postal Service agreed to retrofit all blue mail collection boxes in Queens after I urged the agency to do so, and borough residents are benefiting from this improved security. The agency must now take this initiative a step further and retrofit collection boxes throughout the nation in order to fully combat the problem. As we continue to fight against the unconscionable and reckless assault that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has made on the Postal Service—and I continue to call for his firing—we cannot lose sight of the need to address mail fishing. It’s time to stop these lawbreakers from taking people’s mail and stealing their personal and financial information.”