This last Sunday my mom offered to write me a check to cover the cost of the Easter Ham I purchased. Boy, what sounds more midwestern than that? Anyway, it got me thinking, "Who still writes checks?" The answer is a lot more people than you think. Officials are warning people to stop sending checks in the mail immediately. Why?

Check fraud has doubled in the last few years. Sadly, sometimes the money is gone forever. Here are a few key points you should know.

3.4 billion checks were written in 2022 in the United States.

A lot of checks are still being written in America. This number is down from the year 1990 when 19 billion checks were written. Still, billions of checks circulating are a target for organized crime.

The average check was written for $2,652 last year.

People aren't writing small checks as much for groceries or everyday purchases. WIVB reports that the average check size continues to grow. In 1990 the average check was  just $673,

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Organized crime has been targeting checks in the mail since the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were 350,000 check fraud reports in 2021. Just two years later in 2023, the number grew to 680,000. That's more than doubled! The US Postal Service also had twice as many (300,000) reports of mail theft in 2023.

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How are criminals getting rich from your checks in the mail?

Organized crime intercepts the checks in the mail. There are multiple ways they can alter the check, like "melting ink." They use technology to replace the to section to different names. There's also "check-washing" where people steal the check and change the payee's name on the check.

Your check has your important information on it.

Don't write your driver's license on your check. That's more information than any business is going to need. Also, your check has your bank account number and routing number, and that can be used for online payments as well.

LOOK: Here's where people in every state are moving to most

Stacker analyzed the Census Bureau's 2019 American Community Survey data to determine the three most popular destinations for people moving out of each state.

Gallery Credit: Amanda Silvestri

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