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Holiday Special! Mail Identity Theft Dec 9-21, 2011

Post Time-Date 12-23-2011 | Author by MailBoss | Category Category Mail & Identity Theft | No Comments »

The following are a round up of mail-identity theft reports, stolen mail police blotters, and mail theft advisories from across the nation, Dec. 9-Dec.14, 2011.

Farmingville, NEW YORK: Two Farmingville women were arrested after stealing from cars and mailboxes. Police recovered over 100 pieces of stolen mail, including some checks

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COMMENTS: Increasingly, we are seeing reports of mail theft in areas where previously, it was not a problem. Nowhere is safe! Residents need to be vigilant, and use a secure locking mailbox to protect their sensitive information from would-be identity thieves.

Texarkana, ARKANSAS: Police have received a rash of mail theft reports in the past couple of weeks, and now they are urging residents to take precautions. They have no suspects at this time.

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COMMENTS: Checks and financial documents in your mailbox are a gold mine for thieves looking to steal your identity. With the wealth of sensitive information that comes to your home from day to day, doesn’t it make sense to get a secure mailbox?

Chippewa Falls, WISCONSIN: A Chippewa Falls man will serve 90 days in jail after stealing mail and checks from local businesses. He used stolen checks fraudulently and has been charged with identity theft.

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COMMENTS: Businesses and residents alike need to be cautious with mail – both incoming and outgoing. Use a high security mailbox to protect incoming mail, and only send sensitive mail from the post office.

San Jose, CALIFORNIA: Neighbors are concerned about the growing crime in the San Jose area. Just in the past few weeks, a woman in a green car raided the neighborhood, stealing from residents’ mailboxes. Some blame the decline in police, but others see the problem as an indicator of the times.

Related article:

COMMENTS: Mail thefts are underrepresented statistically because many people don’t even realize when their mail has been stolen! Mail theft is one of the easiest ways for thieves to steal your sensitive information for identity theft, but luckily there are several easy things you can do to protect yourself. First, get a security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss to prevent theft of incoming mail. Also, never send sensitive mail (checks, bill payments, etc.) from an unlocked mailbox. Bring them directly to the post office or use online bill pay – it’s more secure. And of course, always shred sensitive documents (most of which come in the mailbox) before discarding them to thwart dumpster divers.

Petaluma, CALIFORNIA: Mail theft is on the rise in the rural community of Petaluma, with thieves using mail to capture sensitive bank account information.

Related article:

COMMENTS: A quality locking mailbox will help protect against mail-identity theft. It's worth the investment for the peace of mind in knowing your sensitive information will not be stolen from your mailbox. You can special order a quality locked mailbox from Rex Ace Hardware in Petaluma.

Prescott Valley, ARIZONA: Thieves are stealing mail from residential mailboxes in HOAs in the Prescott Valley area. Residents have reported ongoing suspcious activity by numerous individuals stealing mail since December 13. Police have not yet identified any suspects in the case, and are seeking help in the matter.

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COMMENTS: Mail theft is one of the easiest and most common ways thieves steal your sensitive information for identity theft. It happens in residential neighborhoods, HOAs, apartment buildings, business complexes - nowhere is safe. If your HOA believes they are immune, they are deluded. Just check out our mail theft blog if you have any doubts! The best defense is a high security locking mailbox to prevent theft of incoming mail. In addition, never send sensitive documents (checks, bill payments, etc.) from an unsecured mailbox. Bring them directly to the post office or use online bill pay - it's more secure.

Jamestown, NEW YORK: Police have apprehended one suspect responsible for mail and package thefts in Jamestown, and are asking the public's help in apprehending the second - Pedro Millan, shown below.

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COMMENTS: Kudos to the Jamestown police for getting another mail thief off the streets, and good luck in catching Millan!

Greenwood Seattle, WASHINGTON: Thieves are stealing mail in the Greenwood and Phinney Ridge neighborhoods of Seattle. Residents have reported suspicious vehicles prowling mailboxes, and have found scattered mail strewn about the streets. Authorities recommend purchasing a quality locking mailbox for protection.

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COMMENTS: A quality locking mailbox is a modern day necessity, since meth heads are stealing mail to obtain sensitive information for identity theft. During December (holidays) and March/April (tax season) mail theft generally peaks. A locked mailbox keeps your incoming mail safe. Plus, you should never send checks or bill payments from an unsecured mailbox. Bring them directly to the post office or use online bill pay - it's more secure. And of course, always shred sensitive documents (most of which come in the mail!) before discarding them to thwart dumpster divers.

Tuscon, ARIZONA: A routine traffic stop in Tuscon turned up guns, several bags of methamphetamine, stolen IDs, and stolen mail. The guns, drugs, and documents were confiscated, and four individuals were arrested. Police are now seeking to notify victims of identity theft.

Related article:

COMMENTS: Methamphetamine is a growing problem in the country, and it's closely related to the epidemic of mail-identity theft. Drug addicts steal sensitive documents from the mail, purses, etc. to obtain personal information for identity theft. They use these documents to sell or trade for drugs, or get quick and easy cash. MSNBC did a big expose on it awhile back (here).

I would bet that most ID theft victims in this case did not even realize their mail had been stolen, as most people do not have secure mailboxes and don't know what is coming in the mail from day to day. To protect yourself, use a high security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss, available in Tuscon at most Ace Hardware stores.

Roseville, CALIFORNIA: There have been eight reports of mail theft in Roseville in the month of December. All reported mail thefts have been of outgoing mail, when residents have left checks or bill payments in their mailboxes with the flag up. Police are instructing residents to send sensitive mail from the post office instead.

Related articles:

  • KSTP 5 (12.14.11) - Roseville Police Received 8 Reports of Mail Theft this December
  • Roseville Patch (12.14.11) - Roseville Police Issue Crime Alert: Mail Theft

COMMENTS: Theft of outgoing mail is more commonly reported than theft of incoming mail, but that does not mean it is actually a more common occurrence. In reality, residents are more likely to notice when their outgoing mail has been stolen, as thieves promptly wash and fraudulently cash stolen checks. With theft of incoming mail, most people do not even realize their mail has been stolen. Thieves will attempt to use the sensitive information for identity theft, and may or may not be successful. Most victims of identity theft do not realize how their personal information was compromised, according to Javelin Strategy Research. Regardless, vigilance with your mail - both incoming and outgoing - is key. Use a high security locking mailbox to keep incoming mail from would-be identity thieves, and never send checks or bill payments from an unsecured mailbox. Bring them directly to the post office or use online bill pay - it's more secure!

Eau Claire, WISCONSIN: An Eau Claire neighborhood is on edge after a recent string of mail thefts and vandalism. Police say there have been four reports of mail theft just in the last week on Eau Claire's south side, and they suspect there may be more victims who haven't yet realized their mail was stolen. Police have no suspects yet, and are asking for residents' help in reporting suspicious behavior. They also advise residents to use caution sending and receiving mail at this time.

Related article:

COMMENTS: A quality locking mailbox is a modern day necessity, since meth heads are stealing mail to obtain sensitive information for identity theft. During December (holidays) and March/April (tax season) mail theft generally peaks. A locked mailbox keeps your incoming mail safe. Plus, you should never send checks or bill payments from an unsecured mailbox. Bring them directly to the post office or use online bill pay - it's more secure. And of course, always shred sensitive documents (most of which come in the mail!) before discarding them to thwart dumpster divers.

Oakdale/Woodbury/Spring Lake Park, MINNESOTA: After a rash of mail thefts in Oakdale and Woodbury in recent weeks, five suspected mail thieves are finally behind bars thanks to a sharp-eyed bus driver who reported their suspicious activity to the authorities. These individuals have been grabbing mail from residential mailboxes from October, apparently looking for sensitive documents, cash and checks, and scattering mail in the streets.

Related articles:

COMMENTS: Just because these five are behind bars doesn't mean residents can rest at ease knowing their mail is safe. Mail theft is one of the easiest ways thieves steal your sensitive information for identity theft, and it's a fast-growing crime in the Twin Cities area. To protect yourself, use a high security locking mailbox to secure incoming mail - available at Frattallones or Mills Fleet Farm. Also, never send sensitive documents (checks/bill payments) from an unsecured mailbox. Bring them directly to the post office or use online bill pay - it's more secure. And of course, always shred sensitive documents (most of which come in the mail!) before discarding them to thwart dumpster divers.

Kennewick, WASHINGTON: This past week has seen a huge increase in the number of mail thefts in the Kennewick area. Police report that thieves are looking for cash, checks and gift cards - as well as the usual sensitive information for identity theft - in the mail. Police urge residents to retrieve mail promptly, and report an suspicious mail-related activity immediately.

Related articles:

COMMENTS: Use a Mail Boss locking security mailbox to protect against mail-identity theft. In Kennewick, you can find the Mail Boss at Kennewick Ranch and Home or Fred Meyer.

Amarillo, TEXAS: In the last three weeks, there have been over 100 incidents of mail theft reported in the Amarillo area. Thieves are stealing mail delivered by the postman after it has been delivered, and primarily targeting residents on the southwest side of town. Now, authorities are urging residents to retrieve mail as promptly as possible, or consider getting a locking mailbox.

Related article:

COMMENTS: Retrieving mail promptly is often not adequate, as some thieves are so brazen they actually follow the postal carriers stealing mail. And with most of us working a 9-5 job, buy the time we're home to collect our mail it may be too late. The best defense is a high security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss, available in Amarillo at Beebe Lumber.

HOLIDAY MAIL-ID THEFT Nationwide: Authorities are warning residents that mail thefts are on the rise, as opportunistic thieves are looking to steal cash, checks, gift cards and packages from the mail during the holiday season. Take precautions when sending and receiving holiday mail and packages. Use a locking mailbox and send mail with checks or gift cards from a secure mailbox. Never send cash in the mail.

Related articles:

COMMENTS: Mail theft is a  problem all year long, but we see it is most common in December  (holidays) and April (tax time) when there is a plethora of "goodies"  for crooks and ID thieves in the mail. To protect yourself, use a high  security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss to keep thieves from  stealing incoming mail, and never send sensitive mail (checks, bill  payments, etc.) from an unsecured mailbox. Bring them directly to the  post office or use online bill pay - it's more secure. Gift cards are same as cash. Unless you're sending/receiving both ways from a secure mailbox, better to give online gift cards or find an alternative!

POLICE BLOTTERS Nationwide: Residents are reporting theft of incoming and outgoing mail on a regular basis across the nation. Sometimes thefts happen during the day while other times thieves strike at night. A compilation of police blotters are included below.

Related articles:

COMMENTS: Mail thefts are frequently included in police blotters when there are just a few incidents here are there - not enough for a big story. That said, most victims of mail theft do not even realize when their mail has been stolen, and many more do not know they should report mail theft to the police. Here is a primer on what to do if your mail is stolen.

Stealing mail is one of the easiest ways thieves can obtain sensitive account information. Sending checks from an unsecured mailbox leaves you wide open to check fraud, and receiving mail in an unlocked mailbox can put your sensitive information right in the hands of identity thieves. Use precaution with mail. Use a secure locking mailbox to protect incoming mail, and never send sensitive mail (checks, bill payments, etc.) from an unsecured mailbox. Bring them directly to the post office or use online bill pay - it’s more secure. These simple steps will help protect against mail-identity theft.

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