Mail Identity Theft: 1/10/11-1/16/11

Police blotter: Jan., 15, 2011
The Union – 1/15/11

(GRASS VALLEY, CALIFORNIA) “[…] 10:14 a.m. — A caller from the 300 block of Pleasant Street reported a debit card had been stolen from a mailbox and money was taken. […]”

COMMENTS: We all receive sensitive information in the mail, including sometimes debit and credit cards. We should not leave these items unprotected in a mailbox for an identity thief to steal. Get a locking mailbox to protect yourself from mail-identity theft.

Police Blotter: Mail Theft and Warrant Arrests
Orland Park Patch – 1/15/11

(ORLAND HILLS, ILLINOIS) “[…] Monday, Jan. 3 – Mail Theft: An Orland Hills woman reported to police that a package sent to her residence was missing. The woman said she found contents from her mailbox on the ground nearby around 12:50 p.m., and a package that the Postal Service confirmed was delivered to her home was missing, according to the report. Police checked the area and did not find the package.”

COMMENTS: Well of course the police did not find a package or recover any of the lady’s mail. It was stolen… by an opportunistic mail/package thief. Looting mailboxes is one of the most common ways thieves obtain your personal information for identity theft. To protect yourself, use a high security locking mailbox that can’t be fished by hand or easily pried open with a screwdriver. If you frequently receive parcels sent via USPS, you may want to consider a secure package mailbox such as the Package Master.

SD man pleads not guilty to mail theft
KCAU-TV – 1/14/11

(HURON, SOUTH DAKOTA) A Wessington Springs man has pleaded not guilty to federal mail theft charges. Indicted last October on charges of mail theft (among others), Loren Stuefen allegedly ran a bank fraud scheme that stemmed from stealing from residential mailboxes. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

COMMENTS: Of course he’s “not guilty”… that’s about as likely as him ever serving more than a year. Mail thieves rarely do serious jail time, as the penal system is just so crowded already. Most often they receive a slap on the wrist in the form of probation, and are back at it in no time. Mail-identity theft is on the rise, as it offers criminals (usually methamphetamine addicts) a low-risk way to fund their addictions.

SPD makes arrest on identity theft charges
The Daily Sentinel – 1/13/11

shannonkeys_alabamamailthief(SCOTTSBORO, ALABAMA) Police in Scottsboro recently arrested Shannon Keys on charges of identity theft and possession of a forged instrument after being apprehended by U.S. Marshals in Huntsville Alabama. She had warrants in three states for stealing mail from residential mailboxes and using personal information such as name, address and bank account information to create fake checks and identification.

Police believe she is responsible for the recent increase in reports of mail stolen out of mailboxes, and warn that these type of thefts are becoming increasingly common: They get checks and other identification and then create a fake identity and fake checks and pass them off as good. Police caution, “People really need to be careful. We ask and encourage our citizens to really keep a close eye on their and neighbors’ mailboxes.”

COMMENTS: Mail theft is one of the most common ways thieves obtain your sensitive information for identity theft – the fastest growing crime in the country. In many identity theft cases, thieves target your unsecured residential mailboxes where they can find a plethora of information – bank account statements, pre approved credit card offers, etc. The biggest issue is that victims don’t even realize when their mail has been stolen. This is relevant, as most victims of identity theft do not know how their information was compromised.

To protect against mail identity theft, residents should use a high security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss that can’t be fished by hand or easily pried open with a screwdriver. Also, shred sensitive documents (most of which come in the mailbox) before discarding them to thwart dumpster divers.

Pretty package prowler caught on camera
San Jose Mercury News -1/12/11

(LOS ALTOS, CALIFORNIA) After being the victims of mail theft in October, a Los Altos family set up a surveillance camera before leaving town this holiday season. When they returned, they discovered that a woman had boldly stolen a Christmas package from their porch, replacing it with a package that had been stolen from their neighbors just days earlier. Resident Julia Wetzel lamented, “To have our mail stolen was shocking enough. But to have a package stolen, too…” The victims have released the surveillance video on YouTube in hopes of receiving help in identifying the thief.

COMMENTS:Mail and package theft is highly common. Mostly the perpetrators are methamphetamine addicts trying to find cash, checks, and gifts to trade for drugs, or sensitive documents to use for identity theft. Mail theft is actually one of the most common ways thieves obtain your sensitive information for identity theft. Everyone should use a high security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss to keep mail thieves from stealing your bank account statements, checking account numbers, etc. Also, never send sensitive mail from an unsecured mailbox and shred all sensitive documents (most of which come in your mailbox) before discarding them. When possible, request signature required delivery for all packages to prevent package theft.

POLICE BLOTTER: Mail stolen from mailbox during weekend
The Pioneer – 1/12/11

(BIG RAPIDS, MICHIGAN) “[…] Big Rapids Department of Public Safety officers responded to the following calls on Monday. All calls may not be reported. Mail stolen from mailbox during weekend. […]”

COMMENTS: It’s easy to prevent mail theft! Just use the Mail Boss high security locking mailbox to keep incoming mail secure, and never send sensitive mail from an unsecured mailbox.

Sacramento woman sentenced to prison for mail theft
The Sacramento Bee – 1/10/11

(SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA)Traci Linzmeier of Sacramento was sentenced to 15 months in prison for multiple counts of wire fraud and mail theft. According to court documents, Linzmeier (acting with others) followed USPS mail trucks stealing U.S. mail in Sacramento County. She admitted to collecting and sorting stolen mail, and using stolen financial information to buy merchandise online.

COMMENTS: Sadly, mail theft is very common. Thieves realize most people don’t realize (until it is too late) that their mail has been stolen. It’s easy to obtain information for identity theft. Residents need to convert to security locking mailbox for protection against mail-ID theft. A good option is Mail Boss

because it can’t be fished by hand or easily pried open with a screwdriver.

Police investigate possible mail theft
St Cloud Times – 1/10/11

(ST CLOUD, MINNESOTA) Thieves have tampered with collection mailboxes at the Oak Garden Apartment complex in St. Cloud, stealing outgoing mail from residents. It is unknown how much mail was stolen. Apartment staff has encouraged residents to monitor their financial records for identity theft.

COMMENTS: Community mailboxes are commonly targeting by thieves looking to steal both incoming and outgoing mail, as they can obtain multiple residents’ sensitive information at a time. Often cluster boxes have low quality locking mechanisms and can be easily violated in just seconds by thieves. If residents are not allowed to use a secure curbside or wall mount mailbox, they should opt for a post office box instead. If you think your identity has been compromised via mail theft, you will want to read what to do if your mail has been stolen.

Thefts, Bad Checks, Suspicious Man Reported
La Grange Patch – 1/10/11

(LA GRANGE, ILLINOIS) “[…] A resident if the 500 block of south Seventh Avenue reported 3:22 p.m. Jan. 6 that two gift cards, worth less than $300, for The Gap were stolen out of the mail and cashed in. […]”

COMMENTS: Mail theft is very common. Thieves can sometimes find cash, checks or gift cards, and often can obtain your personal sensitive information for identity theft. To protect yourself, use a high security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss, available at your local Ace Hardware, True Value, or independent hardware store.

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