Mail-Identity Theft: 11/17/11-11/26/11

Woodbury PD Blotter: More Mail Messes
Woodbury Patch – 11/26/11

(WOODBURY, MINNESOTA) “Nov. 17: A resident at the 1400 block of Belmont Drive told police he found his neighbor’s mail in a neat stack in his front yard. He returned the mail. Police have warned residents about a rash of mail theft in Woodbury of late. […]

Nov. 18: A resident at the 10600 block of Pinnacle Way reported that her mail had been tampered with recently. Police found several mailboxes open along the street, but did not find any mail.

A resident at the 10600 block of Water Lily Terrace found other Woodbury residents’ mail in his mailbox. There were similar reports at the 11000 block of Balsam Way and the 9030 block of Brentwood Trail. […]

Nov. 20: Mail from several homes was stolen and strewn about along the 1800 block of Lamplight Drive. […]”

COMMENTS: With the prevalance of mail-identity theft now in Woodbury but for quite some time in neighborhoods across the country, residents would be wise to use a high security locking mailbox. This keeps thieves from rummaging through your mail for ID theft!

Theft of mail on the rise during holiday season
Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office – 11/25/11

(FORSYTH COUNTY, GEORGIA) “Each year, about this time the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office begins getting an increased number of reports of the theft of packages left on the front steps of homes.

[…] Mail theft, even incoming mail where there are no checks or payments are involved is one of the first steps in a person becoming a victim of identity theft.

[…] Another step to avoid becoming a victim includes mailing payments from a safe location. “Do not mail bill payments from your home or office mailbox,” Frampton said. “Instead, mail bills from the post office or a blue postal mailbox.”

A raised flag on your mailbox signals the possibility of outgoing checks and credit card payments to criminals. […]”

COMMENTS: Mail theft is one of the most common ways thieves steal your sensitive information for identity theft. Some thieves are so brazen they will follow the postal carriers, so retrieving your mail promptly is not adequate.

The solution is simple: use a high security locking mailbox to protect your mail from would-be identity thieves. If you get a lot of packages in the mail, consider getting a secure package mailbox like the Package Master. In addition, like Sergeant Frampton says, don’t send sensitive mail from an unlocked mailbox. Use online bill pay – it’s more secure. And of course, shred sensitive documents (most of which come in the mailbox) to thwart dumpster divers!

16 indicted in identity-theft ring
Englewood Herald – 11/22/11

(ENGLEWOOD, COLORADO) “Sixteen Colorado residents were indicted by a grand jury Nov. 22 on 168 counts after law enforcement discovered that the group was responsible for a statewide identity-theft ring that victimized more than a hundred individuals and businesses across Colorado.

[…] “This indictment is the accumulation of many months of investigation by numerous law enforcement agencies across the state,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Cheryl Rowles-Stokes, Chief of the District Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit. “Hundreds, if not thousands, of man hours were devoted to the eradication of this identity theft ring for the protection of not only the businesses and citizens of Arapahoe County, but the businesses and citizens of our state as well. […]”

[…] “This 168-count grand jury indictment has brought an end to a prolific criminal enterprise”, said Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates. […] Inspector in Charge, Oscar S. Villanueva, of the US Postal Inspection Service in Denver stated, “US Postal Inspectors continue to protect the safety of the American public through investigations such as this one which involve mail theft. US Postal Inspectors, working alongside local and state agencies, aggressively investigate those who choose to steal US mail to further their criminal activities.””

COMMENTS: Glad to see these mail-identity thieves have been indicted. However, it’s not all unicorns and rainbows. The problem is rampant and epidemic, and there are many more crooks out there stealing mail for ID theft. Most people don’t even realize when their mail has been stolen! Residents need to take precautions to protect themselves.

Specifically, use a locking security mailbox to secure incoming mail. Do not send sensitive mail (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 always shred sensitive documents before discarding them to thwart dumpster divers. If you are an avid shredder, just think about what you’re shredding… mostly your mail… and make sure you protect it with a locking mailbox too!

Police Beat: Theft, burglaries reported
Mineral Wells Index – 11/22/11

(MINERAL WELLS, TEXAS) “[…] A theft was reported Saturday in the 400 block of N.E. 2nd Avenue. The complainant reported mail, including an expected check, was taken from the mailbox at the location. According to reports, a Possum Kingdom-area business called the complainant with information that someone had tried to pass the stolen check. […]”

COMMENTS: To protect yourself from mail-identity theft, use the Mail Boss locking security mailbox, available at Ace Hardware of Mineral Wells!

Police arrest three in package thefts, emphasize holiday precautions
WTVR 6 – 11/21/11

(RICHMOND, VIRGINIA) “Police warned the public to keep a close eye out for holiday packages coming through the mail or delivery services. The holidays are a prime time for thieves to strike.

Richmond police have already arrested several people accused of trying to steal packages delivered through the mail and still have a suspect at large.

About two months ago, Church Hill residents noticed a pattern where packages left at their doorstep would disappear. Police kept a close eye on the area but it was an alert citizen that helped break the case. […]

richmond_Va_mail_thievesSheilia Taylor and Ronald Powers have been arrested in connection to the theft. Police are still looking for Jazmine Taylor. […] Richmond police hope they can clear fifteen cases with the recent arrests. They said that with Cyber Monday, the online version of Black Friday, fast approaching that the need to take precautions can’t be emphasized enough. […]”

COMMENTS: If ordering small packages through US Mail you should consider using a secure Package Mailbox like the Package Master– it securely stores weeks of mails plus small parcels and packages, but can’t be fished like other “bin mailers” available.

Mail gets stolen in Arkansas City
KWCH 12 – 11/21/11

ARKANSAS CITY, KANSAS) “Some people in Arkansas City are not getting their mail, but it’s not the Post Office’s fault. It’s the work of one or more thieves who police say are sneaking around on foot and stealing letters and packages out of curbside mailboxes.

Police first noticed it a couple weeks ago when neighbors strarted finding and turning in discarded mail they found in the streets.

There are at least eight cases so far–most of them clustered together.

Some prescription medicine and at least one check has been stolen.

Arkansas City police are asking people who notice any unusual activity around mailboxes to call them right away.”

Ark City residents concerned with recent mail theft
KSN TV – 11/19/11

(ARKANSAS CITY, KANSAS) “Mailboxes line the streets of Arkansas City and around town, a number of residents have had mail tampered with.

Mickie Smith and his wife Beth say they don’t know of any mail that has been taken from their mailbox, but are quick to say it’s difficult to watch.

“I don’t think it’s a very good thing because just recently we had our debit cards mailed to us, and so its a little concerning to know people are taking mail,” Beth Schmith, Arkansas City resident said.

According to Arkansas City Police, mailbox theft has been common over the last few weeks.

A number of reports were made on North C and South B Streets, North 7th, and East 5th. Law enforcement says it’s important to keep an eye on anything suspicious.

“Watch for strange vehicles in your area stopping at mailboxes, watch for people around your mailbox you don’t know,” Michael Kennedy, Cowley County Deputy Sheriff said.

Residents say they’ll be taking that advice, watching their mailboxes and making sure others in the neighborhood are aware of the situation.”

Ark City Mail Thefts Under Investigation: At least four thefts have been reported in the past week.
KAKE News – 11/18/11

(ARKANSAS CITY, KANSAS) “Police in Arkansas City are investigating a string of mail thefts.

Ark City Police Chief Sean Wallace says four thefts have been reported since Veterans Day. Two residents reported having their mail stolen Nov. 11. Another mail theft was reported Nov. 13, and the most recent incident was reported Thursday.

Wallace says the thieves have been removing mail from mailboxes and taking items such as checks and prescription medications before abandoning the rest of the mail in the area of the incidents. […]”

COMMENTS: Lucky for Arkansas City residents, Orscheln Farm and Home in Arkansas City is now carrying the Mail Boss locking security mailbox, which will protect you from mail theft. A secure locking mailbox is necessary to keep sensitive incoming mail out of the hands of would-be identity thieves.

Police investigating ‘unusual’ spike in mail theft: Woodbury police is warning residents of some mail theft that’s been going around in the city.
Woodbury Bulletin – 11/23/11

(WOODBURY, MINNESOTA) “Woodbury Police is warning residents of some mail theft that’s been going around in the city.

The city sent out an e-mail through its alert system and the post office sent out letters to residents as well.

Woodbury Police Commander Jay Alberio said mail theft is not new to the city, however, it’s been going on steadily for the past month.

“We’ve seen it in the past. It’s kind of spotty where occasionally we get reports of mail theft,” he said. “Since Oct. 27 we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of reported mail theft incidents.

“It’s unusual that it’s been over a three-week period now.”

Police received a dozen reports related to mail theft between Nov. 17 and Nov. 21.

Thieves are typically looking for credit card information and all sorts of other ways to steal people’s identities, according to police.

The incidents are happening throughout the city, not one specific neighborhood, Alberio said.”

He added that some of the stolen mail is often found down the block dumped in different locations. In one instance, Woodbury mail was discovered in St. Paul.

In another incident, police recovered some mail that included a piece of paper with a list of names and credit card numbers hand-written on it, Alberio said.

So far, there have been no reports of personal identity theft and no arrests have been made.

Residents should look out for suspicious activity in their neighborhoods even if they don’t personally experience mail theft, police advise.

The best way to be protected is to make sure that mail is picked up as soon as it comes in.

Alberio also advises residents to get in touch with their credit card companies and make sure their accounts have not been compromised.

“Better safe than sorry type thing,” he said.”

Woodbury police warn residents of widespread mail theft
Pioneer Press – 11/22/11

(WOODBURY, MINNESOTA) “A rash of mail thefts in Woodbury has local police asking residents to be on the lookout for suspects.

The city has seen an increase in the amount of mail stolen from mailboxes during the past four weeks, police Cmdr. Jay Alberio said.

“It’s a significant amount of mail that’s being taken,” he said Monday.

The thefts usually cover two to three blocks at a time, Alberio said, and have been happening in neighborhoods around the city.

In the past, he said, mail theft usually occurred at mailboxes containing outgoing mail – the upright red flag was a giveaway to thieves, he said.

The recent cases involve someone clearing out mailboxes filled with inbound items. “Recently, it’s the actual mail that’s being delivered to residents,” Alberio said.

His advice?

“If you know what time your mail is getting delivered, immediately go out there and take it in,” he said.

The first report of such widespread mail theft came on Oct. 27, Alberio said. There have been no arrests.

He said it appears the suspects are looking for credit card information.

In one instance, police recovered a bundle of pilfered mail that included a piece of paper with a list of individuals’ names and their credit card numbers written on it.

Alberio said residents could help by reporting any suspicious cars or people looking into area mailboxes. He suggested getting a license-plate number from cars and as much descriptive information as possible. A couple of reports from several weeks ago led nowhere, he said, because the vehicle descriptions were too vague.

Residents who suspect they might have had mail stolen should contact their credit card companies and alert their credit card bureaus. […]”

Woodbury Sees Uptick In Mail Theft: The city sent out a notice on Friday asking people to be on the lookout for suspicious happenings near mailboxes.
Woodbury Patch – 11/18/11

(WOODBURY, MINNESOTA) “Woodbury officials on Friday said there has been in increase in mail theft in the city recently. Patch on Nov. 5 reported that several mailboxes had letters stolen from them around the 1400 block of Donegal Drive.

[…] The Woodbury Police Department, on its Facebook page, put out some information from the U.S. Postal Service about how to prevent mail theft:

  • Use the letter slots at your post office to mail letters, or give them to a letter carrier.
  • Pick up your mail promptly after delivery. Don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight.
  • Don’t send cash in the mail.
  • Tell your post office when you’ll be out of town, so they can hold your mail until you return.

COMMENTS: We added some tips to the Woodbury PD’s Facebook page… Some mail thieves are so brazen they follow the postal carriers to steal mail. They use the information for ID theft, and it’s very common indeed! Most people don’t realize when their mail has been stolen, either. To protect yourself, use a… high security locking mailbox (they have them in Woodbury at Frattallone’s Ace Hardware. Also, don’t send sensitive mail from an unlocked mailbox and always sensitive documents (most come in the mail!) before throwing them away to stop dumpster divers.

6 People Charged in Separate Postal Crime Cases
KSEE 24 – 11/28/11

(FRESNO, CALIFORNIA) “United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that a federal grand jury in Fresno returned two separate indictments for conspiracy to commit postal crimes and other postal related offenses. This announcement follows the arraignment of three of the defendants this afternoon before the Honorable Judge Gary S. Austin. The remaining defendants are in state custody as they await arraignment. […]”

Read full story here…

Third Conspirator Admits Her Role in Conspiracy Involving Fraudulent U.S. Income Tax Returns Requesting Tax Refunds Stolen from Mail
7th Space – 11/18/11

(TAMPA, FLORIDA) “United States Attorney Robert E O’Neill announces that Yudheiris Janga (40, Orlando) today pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit theft or receipt of stolen mail matter. Janga faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. […]”

Read more here…

Mail thief using newspaper fliers
The Pueblo Chieftain – 11/17/11

(PUEBLO, COLORADO) “A mail-theft scam using fliers purportedly from The Pueblo Chieftain has been reported to police. Just after 3 p.m. Monday, a woman in the 100 block of Drake Street told police officer Matthew van Leeuwen that a short time earlier someone had stolen the outgoing mail she’d left in her mailbox.

She said that a young Hispanic male got out of a small, white, two-door car in front of her residence. He put a flier promoting newspaper subscriptions inside her screen door but then grabbed her outgoing mail, which was hanging on the outside of the mailbox.

She said he then ran back into the car, which sped off in the direction of Vassar Avenue. Police believe that he carried the flier as a cover for approaching the house in case he was challenged before taking the mail. She had put four letters there, including checks to pay bills. She canceled the checks immediately and said that postal inspectors also have been alerted. […]”

COMMENTS: Mail theft is a growing problem, but thankfully there is an easy solution. Use the Mail Boss locking security mailbox, available in Pueblo at Racine’s Locksmithing, to secure incoming mail. Also, 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.

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