In my area, crooks are putting fishing poles in federal mail boxes and stealing the mail that comes out. They are looking for checks and papers with other identifying information. Even if they cannot cash the check, they have the routing number and account number and can take money out of your account.
I know this because it happened to me last month. I got my bank statement and saw my tax payment check was outstanding. A couple days later I saw a large payment was taken out of my checking account. I went to the bank and filed a report. I got the money back, plus the overdraft fee. I opened a new account without overdraft and will close the old one as soon as our direct deposits go into the new account.
The compromised account has a lock on it. The bank must call me to approve anything. I got a call two days ago that someone wanted an automatic payment of over $400. I never authorized this, and it was denied.
The tax check was never received. I went to town hall and paid in person. I will now do it online, even though there is a small fee.
In my case, a cash-back credit card was established, linked to my checking account. This enabled the thieves to bypass some of the security.
I know it is a federal offense to take mail out of a mailbox. I always thought that if you couldn't pay something online, this was a good way to do it. Apparently not anymore!
The moral of the story is to check your bank accounts and credit card statements often and thoroughly. I found the breach right away. The bank told me that some people find out months later. Pay your bills online using a secure connection or by phone. If you have to mail something, go inside the post office.
Source: Personal experience