By Jason Allen

FORT WORTH (CBS 11 News) – Residents in west Fort Worth notified the United States Postal Service Thursday of what appeared to be a phishing scam set up at a neighborhood mailbox.

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The scam is an example of a crime that, according to the local postal inspector, has resulted in 30 arrests across the metroplex, since October.
The large, blue stand-alone mailbox that sits at the corner of W. Camp Bowie Blvd. and Winthrop looked normal from the outside, but the internal components were something different. The inside of the opening for the box was coated with an adhesive.

A man who lives in a home nearby and didn’t want to be identified called the USPS after realizing that mail would stick to the surface as it was dropped into the box.
“I thought it was one of my bills, going out,” he said. “I thought, oh no sticky, and pulled out somebody else’s mail.”

Several people dropped mail into the box Thursday and didn’t realize it wasn’t falling down until a CBS 11 News crew alerted them to it. Some chose to just take the mail to other boxes.

The local postal inspector said it is a crime that surfaces occasionally in the region, with thieves looking for money or identity information.

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The most common tactic they said is to push something sticky down into the box in an attempt to grab mail and pull it back out.

The postal service has trained mail carriers to look for the adhesive and report it. One carrier told CBS 11 a box about a mile away from the Winthrop location was also recently coated. When CBS 11 checked other boxes in the area none of them had any obvious signs of tampering.

The mailbox on Winthrop had been cleaned by Thursday evening.

The USPS takes the crime seriously, including offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction. It is punishable by up to five years in prison.

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