Alert! Drop-Box Thieves Are Coming for Your Rent Payments
Digested From “Drop-Box Scheme Targets Apartment-Rent Payments”
Orlando Sentinel (FL) (03/16/13) Jacobson, Susan
Apartment communities and their residents in Florida’s Orlando, Kissimmee, Lakeland, Osceola, and south Orange counties have reported being victimized by drop-box thieves in the last month. The scheme works like this. The thieves smear a sticky substance like glue on a coat hanger or similar object. They then reach through the slot into the drop box and fish out rent checks and money orders. Later, they use acetone to wash the ink away, write in a new name, and cash the money orders. Authorities note that personal checks are less likely to be tampered with because they are easier to trace and more difficult to alter. Apartment owners and managers say that surveillance video can be a deterrent, but such technology often proves inconclusive in identifying the perpetrators. So far, many of the victims have lived in moderate-income apartment communities where residents are required to pay by money order or do so because they have no checking account. Lori Trainer, a vice president at Concord Management, remarks, “These poor folks are working hard to pay their rent, and they certainly don’t deserve to be ripped off like that.” Concord has had thefts at four of its apartment communities.