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Norton Writes Postal Service About Increase in Mail Theft, Particularly of Checks, With Universal Keys

May 23, 2022
Longtime D.C. delegate Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton said that she would work with the NNPA and the NAHP to pressure Congress to demand greater federal adverting spending with minority-owned publishers. This photo was taken during a congressional panel discussion on judicial diversity on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

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May 23, 2022
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) wrote the United States Postal Service (USPS) about the increase in mail theft, particularly of checks, through the use of stolen universal keys. Thieves have been using universal keys to steal checks and then change the payees and dollar amounts. Norton requested a response by May 30, 2022, outlining the steps USPS is taking to remedy the problem.

“A constituent recently contacted my office after checks they put in a blue collection box were stolen,” Norton wrote. “Thieves changed the payees and dollar amounts on the checks, and tens of thousands of dollars were stolen from my constituent’s account.”

The letter follows.

 

May 16, 2022

Louis DeJoy

Postmaster General and CEO

United States Postal Service

475 L’Enfant Plaza SW

Washington, DC 20260

 

Dear Postmaster General DeJoy:

 

I write to express my concern regarding the increase in mail theft nationally, particularly of checks, through the use of stolen universal keys, formally known as arrow keys.  A constituent recently contacted my office after checks they put in a blue collection box were stolen.  Thieves changed the payees and dollar amounts on the checks, and tens of thousands of dollars were stolen from my constituent’s account.  The Washington Post recently covered the increase in such thefts: https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2022/05/01/chevy-chase-mailbox-stolen-checks/.  The United States Postal Service (USPS) Inspector General issued a report about the lack of controls over universal keys in 2020 (https://www.uspsoig.gov/document/arrow-key-management-controls).

 

As I have written to you before, District of Columbia residents have suffered through a significant increase in delayed and undelivered mail over the last few years and may now be suffering through a significant increase in theft of checks, which could be financially devastating.

 

I ask that you respond in writing by May 30, 2022, regarding what steps USPS is taking to address this problem.

 

Sincerely,

 

Eleanor Holmes Norton

 

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