MANLIUS, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Manlius Police are once again warning residents of another scam that could cost you before the holiday mailing season kicks into high gear.

Police say they are seeing more cases of a scam called “check washing” which involves scammers using special chemicals to remove ink on checks.

This warning comes as Manlius Police caught and arrested a suspect for stealing mail, which included numerous checks, stolen from multiple residences, and a business in East Syracuse, on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

Check washing involves a scammer getting hold of a check that you were mailing out and erasing contents — including the payee and amount on a check — and leaving the signature to write it out to themselves, and steal money from you.

This scam is on the rise as scammers are able to use chemicals found in everyday household cleaning products to remove the ink.

In one more recent incident, there was a $25,000 loss and all the banks that the checks were deposited in were in the Midwest.

Manlius police have arrested one man for stealing from mailboxes in the Fayetteville area, but they’re not done yet.

The Manlius Police Department is advising residents in the Central New York area to avoid mailing checks if you can, and to use a gel pen when writing a check.

The gel pen makes it practically impossible for scammers to remove the ink, as opposed to a general or ballpoint pen.

Police also recommend the following to avoid check washing:

  • Use checks with added security features
  • Try to avoid sending checks in the mail and pay bills online when possible
  • Make it a habit to review your bank accounts for inconsistences
  • Avoid putting up that red flag to let the mail carrier know that there’s mail, so there’s no indication that there’s mail in your mailbox

If you were the victim of an unreported crime and wish to file a report please call 9-1-1.