Thieves Target Mailboxes for COVID-19 Relief Checks

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About 127 million people nationwide are getting or have gotten COVID-19 relief payments and that has a lot of people checking their mail. However, there's a concern that thieves know checks are landing in mail boxes, too. 

Livier Hernandez Orozco and family had been waiting for the $1,400 check in the mail as part of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan but on Wednesday, she saw the back of the mailbox for her entire building pried open and most of the contents stolen.

She’s afraid the checks for her and some neighbors are gone.  

“My husband has many friends who received the checks, and my husband no, he received nothing,” Hernandez Orozco said. 

She contacted the IRS and was told that there was no information yet to tell her the status of her payment. 

“If you haven’t gotten that payment, you need to file a claim with the IRS,” said IRS Representative Irma Trevino. “You need to visit the IRS coronavirus page.”

The San Jose Postal Service says it is investigating the mailbox break in and while investigators can’t determine yet if the checks attracted the thieves, it’s logical that it did.

“Well the stimulus checks have value,” said Postal Inspector Jeff Fitch. “Anything of value is what the mail thief is looking for. So checks, credit cards, financial information. And the key is reporting. If you have been the victim of mail theft, report it.”

Hernandez Orozco said her husband is on disability waiting for a new job and, “people in some places, don’t wait for the rent.”

Fitch said there has been a constant surge in postal thefts statewide for several years and with about 15 million paper checks in the mail, the surge may not end anytime soon.

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