Stop ID Theft At Your Mailbox
A few weeks ago we saw a video of a young woman carrying a small child walking along a street in broad daylight stealing mail out of mailboxes. She was caught on a surveillance camera from a nearby neighbor’s house. We haven’t heard an update on whether or not she’s been caught. We certainly hope so.
As you know, stealing mail is illegal. It is a federal offense-serious stuff! Postal Inspectors have proven techniques to address the problem and are very aggressive in trying to thwart thieves in the theft of your mail. As you can imagine, identity theft is one of the main reasons why people steal mail. Postal inspectors have more than 200 federal laws behind them, so it’s doubtful that you have discovered a way to beat the system. The penalties are severe needless to say.
Mail Theft Prevention Tips
The U.S.P.S. advises you to use the letter slots at a post office to mail letters or give them to a letter carrier instead of leaving them in your mailbox.
They also advise you not to leave your mail overnight and to never send cash in the mail.
Additionally, they tell you to make sure your post office knows when you’ll be out of town so they can hold your mail.
In our article entitled ‘ID Theft Is A Threat To Everyone,’ we discuss how big a threat identity theft is and show you some ways you can protect yourself.
According to the Postal Service “Recent statistics show
- Every two seconds identity fraud occurs.
- Figures from the Bureau of Justice show that identity theft resulted in $24.7 billion in financial losses last year.
- One of every fourteen Americans 16 or older was a target or a victim of identity theft last year.
- 29% spent a month or more resolving problems.”
Close to 10 million Americans were victims of identity theft last year with a cost of nearly $25 billion. The number may actually be a lot higher because different law enforcement agencies classify ID theft differently. What is for sure is that identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. The Federal Trade Commission reports that 4% of victims cited stolen mail as a source of personal information.
According to this website, mail theft is one of the most common ways to steal identities. Think about it! Most mailboxes these days are on the street, so all you have to do is drive or walk down the street and stick your hand in a mailbox and be gone in two seconds. How hard is that?
When most people think of identity theft they think of losing their credit cards or having their numbers stolen from databases or receipts. And it is true that is a big problem. But stealing mail which could include bank statements, credit card statements, and even newly issued cards not to mention tax information, mortgage documents, insurance forms, and the list goes on and on with sensitive information that is left in an unlocked mailbox is a huge issue too.
Stealing from an unlocked mailbox in the dead of night is certainly a common way to commit mail fraud. But how about falsifying a change of address form and having all of the victim’s mail forwarded to a rented mailbox number that can’t be traced and easily discontinued. One of the best ways that you can avoid these problems is to have locked mailboxes.
Even the U.S.P.S. recommends that you consult with your local Postmaster for the most up-to-date regulations on mailboxes and the availability of locked centralized or better yet secured curbside mailboxes.
Our article entitled ‘Why Identity Theft Isn’t Always Your Fault’ gives you more tips on how to prevent identity theft and is well worth your time taking a read.
Ways To Prevent Mail Theft
One of the suggestions that the Postal Service recommends to prevent mail theft is to start or join a neighborhood watch program. It is one of the foremost programs in the country to help prevent home burglary. Take it one step further and it helps improve communication with neighbors about work schedules and basically empowers neighbors to keep an eye on each other and watch out for each other.
We have several new products that can help you prevent mail theft.
The first is our Wall Mount Locking Mailbox which is made of 14 and 16 gauge electro-galvanized steel and has a patented anti-pry latch locking system with a seven-pin brass core tube lock for maximum security. It installs in minutes on almost any surface. It is made with stainless steel hinges and has a weather resistant powder coating. It includes reflective House Numbers, installation hardware and three keys.
The second way is with our Curbside Locking Mailbox that is also made out of 12 and 14 gauge electro-galvanized steel construction with a patented anti-pry locking mechanism to protect from forced entry. The mail slot at the top is large enough for a2″ x 10″ package. There is a large access door for retrieving mail. It has a powder-coated finish for longer life and smooth moving stainless steel hinges. The patented fast-track mounting plate installs quickly on an existing post platform or gangplank. It also includes reflective house numbers and installation hardware. The commercial grade wafer lock helps secure the access door.
We are proud to carry the Mail Boss® line of secure mailboxes to help prevent mail theft and identity theft. They have answers for your mail security questions. Their products include secure mailboxes for both curbside and home/townhome applications in black or bronze some with extra capacity for packages.
Have you ever had your mail stolen? Or have you ever been a victim of identity theft? Please share your experience. We want to hear your thoughts.