MAIL FISHING

MAIL FISHING

 Mail fishing is an easy low-tech type of crime. Thieves don’t need any special skill level to retrieve someone’s mail in an accessible public mailbox. According to law enforcement officials, public mailboxes are increasingly a target for criminals.

There’s a treasure trove of goodies in any public mailbox. Think of the many millions of gift cards, cash in greeting cards, rent checks, money orders, bill payments, etc., we mail every day. Most people either place their mail in their own ‘unlocked’ personal mailbox or use the blue postal mailboxes in their neighborhood. This puts their mail in danger of mail fishing.

MAIL FISHING
Thieves Go Fishing To Steal Your Mail

HOW IS MAIL FISHING DONE?

Thieves are using tools like sticky traps – used to catch rodents – attached to the end of a string, to retrieve envelopes placed in postal mailboxes. Using this method, a thief can easily pull up to 20 envelopes at a time this way. OR a thief can easily grab your outgoing mail from your unlocked personal mailbox outside your own home.

 

CHECK WASHING MAY COME NEXT!

Your checking account could be in danger of getting cleaned out if a mailbox thief gets a hold of one of your checks. Once a thief gets their hands on someone else’s check, they will ‘wash’ the ink from that check with chemicals. Once the check is washed, the criminal now has a blank check, with your account information. They will make the check payable to whomever they wish and for whatever amount they want. If that check clears your bank, your money will have been stolen. Additionally, if there wasn’t enough money in your checking account, you will also incur overdraft fees.

Mail Fishing at your Home
Collect Mail Promptly

HERE’S HOW TO KEEP YOUR MAIL SAFE

To avoid ‘check washing’ write your checks out using a type of ink that won’t wash away. Purchase a Uni-Ball brand # 207 gel pen for writing your checks from now on.

If using a postal mailbox, place your bills before the last collection time. This will prevent your mail from sitting in the mailbox overnight. Most mail fishing is done after dark.

Place your mail inside the actual post office. Walk inside and drop it in the post office outgoing mail bin.

Never put outgoing bills in your own personal mailbox, unless it’s a locked/secure mailbox. Also, never raise your mailbox flag, as this will bring attention to would-be mail thieves.

Consider using post office ‘tracking’ when mailing important or large checks.

Don’t keep large sums of money in your checking account and monitor your checking account balance frequently to make sure your checks have cleared. Contact your bank immediately if something is amiss.

Contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455 if you see something suspicious. Mail theft is a federal crime, punishable for up to five years in prison.

Post offices are beginning to either replace or retrofit mailboxes to make them fishing resistant. In the meantime, be vigilant.

FBI Warns of Router Vulnerabilities

Router Vulnerabilities

The FBI is sounding the alarm and giving an official warning about router vulnerabilities. Apparently, foreign hackers are using a type of malware called “VPN-Filter” to target routers around the world. These router security vulnerabilities were present in many of the most popular router brands.

Your router is often one of the most overlooked of all your computer devices. Realize that hackers can and often do break in to a router, just as easily as any other device on your computer.

Router Vulnerabilitles
Check for updates every 90 days

 

SO WHAT IS A ROUTER ANYWAY?

A router is defined as a hardware networking device that routes data from one computer network connection to another, on the internet. It performs traffic directing functions that allow authorized machines to connect to other computer systems. They are in essence electronic devices that join multiple computer networks together.

If your router becomes compromised, the security of all the devices that utilize that router, are in jeopardy. Once infected, Malware causes the router to block all network communications, thus rendering your router inoperable.

ADVICE FROM THE F.B.I.

According to the FBI, this Malware is difficult to detect and defend against. Therefore, the FBI is recommending that owners of home offices and small office routers should immediately reboot their routers. By doing so, it can disrupt this newly discovered Malware. The FBI is also recommending that, if you have not already done so, immediately change the “default” password and choose a new strong and long password.

Lastly, the FBI is also advising everyone to upgrade to the latest version of their router’s firmware.  Unfortunately, the companies that produce routers don’t automatically notify you when an update is available. So, it is up to you to look for them and download them yourself.

In order to do so, you need to use your internet browser to log into your router, using your router’s IP address. By default, most router manufacturers use 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1 as the IP address.

Alternatively, using Windows 10 you can find your IP address by going to your Settings and choose the Network and Internet icon. Next choose Ethernet and click on your network. Then scroll down to Properties to find it.

It is recommended that you check for updates every 90 days. Below are the links to more information for updating the most popular brands of routers.

Apple:   https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201519

Asus:  https://www.asus.com/microsite/2014/networks/routerfirmware_update/

D-Link:  http://support.dlink.com/

Linksys:  https://www.linksys.com/us/support-article?articleNum=135561

Netgear https://kb.netgear.com/23442/How-do-I-update-my-NETGEAR-router-firmware-using-the-Check-button-in-the-router-s-web-interface

SCAN YOUR ROUTER FOR ANY BREAK-INS

Using the link below will enable you to check your router for any break-ins.  It is a safe and free service that is specially designed to scan your router to make sure there are no hackers lurking in your router.

Here is the link:

https://www.f-secure.com/en_US/web/home_us/router-checker

Just click the “Check Your Router” icon and you’ll receive an instantaneous report.