With the ways technology has evolved and changed over the years. We have options to send/receive cash now that aren't paper-based. Think PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, etc.

With these apps, the need for checks and writing checks has certainly waned. That said, I still write at least two each month for bills, and perhaps you do too. Maybe we need to think twice about how we mail our checks...

Scam alert: Check washing

We recently told you about a mail scam called a "smishing" scam. That scam is entirely based on technology. Check washing, is entirely based on stealing a physical check, and making sure the thief gets the payday, not the recipient.

Photo by Unseen Studio on Unsplash
Photo by Unseen Studio on Unsplash

So what is check washing? Put simply, check washing is a process that involves a thief stealing a check made out to an individual or business, using simple household cleaners to remove the ink of the check, and replacing it with whatever they'd like.

A check was made out for however much and paid to whoever. Think of this as someone handing themselves a blank check linked to your bank account. According to the Better Business Bureau, check washing scams cost Americans $815 million per year.

What you can do to protect yourself

While simply not sending checks isn't a great answer for most people who have bills or rely on writing checks, there are some simple steps you can take to prevent this fraud from occurring.

One simple way: don't leave a check in your mailbox. A thief can easily open a mailbox and steal the contents. If you have a mailbox with a flag, and you position it to indicate you have outgoing mail, that's an invite for someone with bad intentions to come take a peak.

Another option, is when you fill out your check, write it using a gel pen. Gel pen ink is resistant to most of the chemicals that could be used to erase your check. Lastly, if you can, take your check directly to the post office to be mailed. Hand it write to an employee, or leave it in a mailbox inside the post office. It's safer there, and less likely to be stolen.

There are plenty of other scams out there to be aware of. Keep yourself safe and avoid these:

Most Common Scams Iowans Fall Victim To

It seems like scammers are getting smarter and smarter every year. In 2023, thousands of Iowans fell victim to fraud. Here are the top ten scams that Iowans fell for.

Gallery Credit: Kerri Mac

It's certainly easier to make it to retirement age if you have your money in your bank and not a scammer's hands. Assuming you do, you can one day retire to one of these great Iowa cities!

LOOK: Best counties to retire to in Iowa

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to retire in Iowa using data from Niche.

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