The Greenville News reports on dozens of cases of mail fraud in South Carolina
Federal postal inspectors said that more than 50 people in South Carolina have been arrested for stealing mail or documents and committing mail fraud and identity theft. Postal inspectors say decline in the economy and increase in unemployment in Upstate South Carolina has added to the problem of mail fraud and ID theft.
KEY POINTS IN THE STORY:
- Criminals stole mail to commit identity theft
- Postal inspector says down economy has caused increase in “financial crimes” like mail-identity theft
- Range of charges include ID theft, mail fraud, mail theft, embezzlement, fraud and forgery
- Mail thieves are drug users who steal identities to support their habits
- I-85 Corridor has more high prevalence of meth users
- It is easy for criminals to steal from a mailbox and create an identity
- Residents shouldn’t leave mail in mailboxes
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ON THE ABOVE
Mail Identity Theft on the rise in this economy…
- Theft Rises as the Economy Falls
- The Economy and this State of Fear
- Mail Boss Sales on the Rise – Here’s Why!
The Methamphetamine – Mail Theft connection…
- Meth Addicts Stealing Mail in SLC
- Mail ID Thief Sentenced, Lessons to be Learned
- Scary Mail Theft Facts
Unlocked Mailbox = Recipe for Disaster…
Locking Mailbox = ID Theft Prevention…
- Reasons for a Locking Mailbox
- Identity Theft Prevention
- Security Mailboxes Offer ID Theft Protection
TAKE HOME MESSAGE:
- Identity theft is on the rise, especially in this economy.
- Mail theft is a very common way thieves (often drug users) gain your sensitive information.
- A security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss provides mail identity theft prevention and peace of mind.
MAIL BOSS DEALERS IN SOUTH CAROLINA:
- Find a dealer near you with the Store Locator
- White Jones Ace Hardware & Sporting Goods – Anderson, SC
ORIGINAL STORY REPRINTED BELOW
Dozens arrested on mail fraud, ID theft charges
May 13, 2009 — Federal postal inspectors said Tuesday that more than 50 people arrested within the past year by an Upstate task force stole mail or documents to commit “identity theft or mail fraud.”
Keith A. Fixel, a postal inspector in charge, said the decline in the economy and increase in unemployment in the Upstate has added to the problem of mail fraud and ID theft.
“Financial crimes are on the upswing,” he said.
He said such fraud can cause victims a lot of grief. “The emotional stress on the victim is overwhelming,” he said at the main Greenville post office on Washington Street.
Of the 53 people charged by the task force, 17 were suspects in federal crimes and 36 were charged with state crimes. The range of charges includes identity theft, mail fraud, mail theft, embezzlement, fraud and forgery, postal inspectors said.
Postal inspectors said there are many more arrests in the system, but they haven’t been added to the arrest count.
The arrests were made by the South Carolina Upstate Financial Crimes Task Force, which is headed by Jack Galvin, a U.S. postal inspector based in Columbia.
Galvin said many of those who commit mail theft are drug users who steal identities and perpetrate mail fraud to support their habits.
“This corridor has some unique problems,” Galvin said of the Interstate 85 area. Investigators said there are more methamphetamine users in the Upstate and they aren’t sure why.
U.S. Attorney Walt Wilkins, a federal prosecutor, said federal agents and Anderson and Spartanburg law enforcement were part of the task force, pooling federal, state and local intelligence.
He said residents should report “suspicious activity” when they spot it. “If someone is driving in your neighborhood, report it,” Wilkins said. “Call if you know about this activity.”
He said the criminals steal documents to create fake identities and apply for credit cards.
“It’s an easy task to steal from a postal box and create an identity,” Wilkins said.
Galvin said residents shouldn’t leave mail in their mailboxes.
“Bring your mail in every day,” he said.