Mail-Identity Theft: Dec. 26-28, 2011

Seattle, WASHINGTON: A police officer training his K-9 unit stumbled upon mail theft in progress, and apprehended two individuals. The suspects were in possession of over 115 pieces of mail, and admitted to having stolen it.

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COMMENTS: Woohoo K-9 cop! Mail theft is a big problem in the area, and has been for some time. Residents should protect themselves with a high security locking mailbox to secure incoming mail, and never send checks or sensitive mail from an unsecured mailbox.

Redmond, WASHINGTON: During the holidays, Redmond was hit with a rash of mail theft. There were at least eight reports of mail theft from Dec. 22-26, and in one instance a Redmond resident reported finding a bunch of mail from Woodinville in his recycling bin; the mail was from 17 different people.

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COMMENTS: Our company is based in Redmond WA and we have been providing locking mailboxes locally and nationwide since 2006. The Mail Boss can’t be beat in terms of the security it provides at such an affordable price. With the prevalence of mail-identity theft the best defense is a quality locked mailbox. Also, never send sensitive mail (checks/bill payments) from an unlocked mailbox. Bring them directly to the post office or use online bill pay – it’s more secure.

Fairbanks, ALASKA: Alaska State Troopers are investigating a rash of mail theft in the interior that has affected over 150 victims. They suspect thieves are looking for checks and other sensitive information for identity theft. Although mail theft has been a long time problem in Fairbanks and surrounding areas, this is the largest case to date this year.

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COMMENTS: As many people have noted, a locking mailbox is the way to go, especially when mail theft is an ongoing problem (as it is in many states, not just Alaska). Most locking mailboxes including the $100 ones from Home Depot can be easily fished, as a thief can get his arm into that same bin that allows for books and packages. There are videos of this on youtube and on mail theft reports in the news. The best defense is a high security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss – it can stand up to a snow plow as well! In the Fairbanks area, you can get one at Spenards or Fred Meyer, or special order from your local Ace Hardware.

Atlanta, GEORGIA: Residents in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Atlanta are warning neighbors to watch out for mail thieves, after one family had three bill payments stolen from their mailbox. Wells Fargo alerted the family to the thieves trying to cash those checks fraudulently, and stop the fraud. Authorities recommend bringing bill payments to a secure mailbox to protect yourself.

Across the city in Sandy Springs, a car wreck led police to a big break in an identity theft ring. Police found other people’s mail in the crashed vehicle, and have determined that the driver had been stealing mail and using the information to apply for credit cards, and then stealing the credit cards from the mail too! None of the victims were aware their mail and identities had been stolen.

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COMMENTS: Theft of outgoing mail is reported more often than incoming mail, but not because the crime itself is more common. Actually, victims of outgoing mail theft are just more likely to realize their checks or bill payments have been stolen, either when the thieves try to cash checks fraudulently, or when they’re notified by creditors of late bill payments. On the other hand, incoming mail theft often goes unnoticed, since most people don’t know what comes in the mail from day to day. Mail thieves are opportunistic and will steal whatever they find in your mailbox to use for check fraud and/or identity theft. To protect yourself, use a secure locking mailbox like the Mail Boss to keep incoming mail from would-be identity thieves, and never send sensitive mail (checks/bill payments) from an unsecured mailbox. Bring them directly to the post office or use online bill pay – it’s more secure!

Lubbock, Texas: A Lubbock grand jury indicted Lucian Banks for mail theft, but as part of a plea bargain he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of obstructing the mail. Banks admits he stole checks from residential mailboxes in Lubbock.


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COMMENTS: Even though mail theft is a federal crime, Banks will likely never see the inside of a prison. Mail theft is increasingly common, as the risks are low and the rewards are high! Criminals can steal checks and gift cards for the mail, or use sensitive information for identity theft. To protect yourself, use a high security locking mailbox. In Lubbock, you can find the Mail Boss at Lowe’s Market.

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.

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  • Oakdale, MINNESOTA: Oakdale Patch (12.26.11) – Police Blotter

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.

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.

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COMMENTS: Mail theft is one of the most common ways thieves steal your information for identity theft. During the holidays (and tax season) it is more prevalent as opportunistic thieves can find gift cards, checks, etc. in the mail as well. To protect yourself, invest in a secure locking mailbox to keep thieves from stealing your personal information from the mailbox. Also, never send checks, bill payments or anything you don’t want stolen from an unsecured mailbox. Bring them directly to the post office or use online bill pay. It’s more secure! Of course, always shred sensitive documents (most of which come in your mailbox) before discarding them to thwart dumpster divers, too.

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