Former ID Thief Tells All

ID Thieves Recruited Meth Addicts to Steal Mail

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the nation, but the majority of victims don’t know how their information was compromised. Many people never suspect that thieves could be getting all the sensitive information they need right from their mailbox.

This sense of security may arise from the fact that tampering with the mail is a federal crime, and most citizens would never dream of messing in someone’s mailbox. But thieves think differently, and they are targeting unlocked mailboxes to steal sensitive information for ID theft.

This isn’t merely speculation – it has been documented, time and again, from identity thieves turned inside sources. Turns out, the fast-growing crime of mail-identity theft is closely connected to the methamphetamine epidemic.

Take Sara’s account, given in Doug Shadel’s book Outsmarting the Scam Artist. Sara, a former identity thief, explained that she would recruit methamphetamine addicts to pilfer data from senior citizens’ mailboxes:

“A mail-boxer is a drug addict we send out to steal mail from private mailboxes in residential communities. I really don’t even want to say this because it’s so bad, but… we targeted senior citizens. The best place to send a mail-boxer to is that place with the big sign on it that says ‘retirement community – 55 and older.’ That is going to be your best hit by far.”

When asked what kind of mailboxes they targeted, Sara reported that unlocked mailboxes were the easiest, but cluster mailboxes were also attractive:

“The easiest mailbox to steal from of course is the old fashioned one that doesn’t have a lock – you just open it right up and take mail out of it. The ones that people want to steal the most from are either in apartment complexes or suburban communities where access to the mail is from the back.”

For more information, read more of Sara’s interview on Business Insider here.

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