Police warn of mailbox phishing scam in Hazleton area

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LATTIMER, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — You might want to twice before using those blue post office boxes when sending out mail. The Hazleton area is seeing a rise of mailbox phishing scams.

Doina Magdi of Lattimer always goes inside the post office to send out mail.

“I never use the box outside. It’s a shame that we’ve come to times like this,” Magdi said.

A few months ago she heard scammers were using stick substances to steal valuable mail from these boxes.

“They’re looking for cash, checks, gift cards, anything worth value and they are taking it,” Trooper Anthony Petroski with Pennsylvania State Police said.

Now state police are warning residents in Hazleton and surrounding communities because they have seen a rise in these phishing cases.

“You just can’t. Nowadays you just can’t trust anything. It’s amazing, isn’t it?” Magdi said.

State police say the safest way to send out mail is to go inside just like Magdi does.

“Might take another minute or two but walk into the post office, put it directly, hand it to a postal worker but this way you guarantee at least it won’t happen with these phishing activities,” Petroski said.

But if you must use the blue mailboxes there’s a safer way to do it. Each blue post office box has collection times listed. If it’s after that last call, police are telling people to not leave their mail in there.

Beware the next few months, as state police say these types of scams tend to increase as we get closer to holiday season.

If you see any groups of people around blue post office boxes or any suspicious behavior surrounding one, state police recommend you call 911.

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