A rash of mail thefts prompted police to issue a warning Wednesday, urging residents to avoid leaving bill payments in the mailbox.
"Thieves quite often steal the mail which residents leave in their mailbox for pickup with the red flag up for everyone to see, including the thieves," Fountain Valley Police Sgt. Dann Bean said, adding that residents have reported several thefts in the past few weeks.
Once thieves remove checks from mailboxes, police say, they often remove the pen ink through a special process and write in a higher amount or use the checks to buy merchandise from stores that don't check identification.
Other scam artists use laminating machines to make false picture identifications that include a victim's personal information, Bean said.
Police are advising residents to take mail to a post office or a mailbox. When residents are away from home, such as on vacation, Bean suggested having the post office hold mail or asking a neighbor to pick it up.