Mailbox ‘fishing’ victimizes vulnerable Queens residents: Congresswoman

Fishing for mail is practically becoming a sport in Queens, according to U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, who is asking the U.S. Postal Service to install new anti-theft mailboxes across the borough.

Creative criminals around the country have been using various sticky substances to “fish” letters out of blue mailboxes on street corners. It’s happening locally, too, with thieves stealing personal information and washing ink off checks to rewrite them.

Meng said one of her constituents in Queens lost $4,000 in a mail fishing incident.

“Many of the victims of mail fishing are seniors who are particularly vulnerable to these reprehensible schemes and have no means of protecting themselves,” she said in a statement.

Last week, Meng fired off a letter to Elvin Mercado, head of the Postal Service’s Triboro Division, asking him to replace all of the boxes in Queens with anti-theft ones that feature a small slot for mail instead of the large pull-down opening.

She said police have even advised local residents not to use the boxes and go instead directly to post offices.

“Many post offices in my district have limited hours, and residents cannot drop off mail when post offices are closed,” Meng wrote in her letter. “This also creates a significant barrier for seniors and disabled persons in my district who have issues with mobility.”

Over the last year, the Postal Service modified mailboxes in parts of the Bronx, Washington Heights and Inwood due to a rash of fishing incidents.

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