The Evidence Based Cybersecurity Research Group out of Georgia State University had been tracking check fraud related to mail theft on Telegram chat rooms and then the dark web. In October last year, it tracked 60 chat rooms and found nearly 200 stolen checks from Indiana and 13 from Kentucky up for sale.
As Troubleshooters dug on Telegram, half a dozen USPS keys for sale were found. Price, one to three grand, and it’s all yours.
“These keys allow access not only to the blue collection boxes, but apartment panels, and cluster boxes, and it’s a free for fall,” Postal Police Association President Frank Albergo said.
Besides the keys, Troubleshooters also found people posting checks for sale, and a short video showing someone washing the ink off a check.
“We were deployed to specific zip codes where mail theft was prevalent, we were using crime mapping, we were using local police statistics, and you could do a lot with a little,” Albergo said.
King and Martin are now facing federal charges. An affidavit filed by a postal inspector in the case said he was aware of $350,000 in check fraud related to mail theft in Jefferson County. The inspector also noted three mail carriers had been robbed between January and October 2020.
Albergo said that’s why his officers were stunned when the Postal Service told them they could no longer patrol outside of post offices in 2020.
“All of a sudden, the Postal Service decided we shouldn’t be doing that anymore,” Albergo said.
The union sued, but a federal court tossed the case and said the Postal Service’s interpretation of the law was fine. The Postal Inspection Service sent WAVE a statement saying in part: