MANLIUS, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Manlius Police are warning residents of another scam that could cost you.

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 a possession of a check that you were mailing out and erasing all 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.

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 harder for scammers to remove as much 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

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