Mail Identity Theft in New England

Concord Monitor reports inmate guilty of mail theft related ID fraud

In New Hampshire, David Curtis has pled guilty to stealing from rural mailboxes in New England and using the contents to defraud numerous victims. The story, originally reported by the Concord Monitor here and included below, explains that Curtis used bank statements and checks stolen from victims’ unlocked mailboxes to commit identity fraud.

The article recommends that residents secure their outgoing mail to protect themselves from this sort of crime, but fails to mention that securing incoming mail with a locking mailbox is an essential element in identity theft prevention. (Just ask yourself… How many times to you send OUT your bank statements?)

The best defense against mail related identity theft is a 3-pronged strategy:

  • Protect your incoming mail with a high security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss
  • Always use secure blue USPS mailboxes to send sensitive outgoing mail
  • Shred all sensitive information with a cross-cut paper shredder before discarding it

By employing this multi-faceted strategy, you can significanty reduce your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft, and nearly eliminate your risk of becoming a victim of mail-related identity theft.

Inmate guilty of ID fraud

A state prison inmate has pleaded guilty to defrauding numerous people and banks after looting mailboxes throughout rural New England.

David Curtis, 42, pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to charges of mail theft, identity fraud and bank fraud. He admitted to counterfeiting checks from bank statements and checks stolen from mailboxes in Gilmanton, Candia, Lebanon, and towns in Maine and Massachusetts.

He defrauded 11 banks and stole mail from 17 people, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Alfred Rubega, the prosecutor on the case.

The thefts began in July 2007, Rubega said, and continued until March 2008, when Curtis was booked in New Hampshire state prison on state forgery convictions.

Curtis was charged with the federal crimes in December, after an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, Rubega said. Curtis will be sentenced April 20 on the charges, which carry a maximum prison term of 30 years and possible fines of up to $1 million.

Federal probation officers are working to determine the exact amount of money stolen, a factor weighed in sentencing, Rubega said.

“The impact is more in the numbers of people affected and the difficulty and inconvenience they feel than the direct financial impact,” he said.

Prosecutors believe law enforcement has identified all people affected by the thefts, Rubega said.

People can protect themselves from mail fraud by mailing outgoing mail themselves, rather than leaving it for their postal worker, and by collecting their mail as quickly as possible, he said.

“If the flag is up on that mailbox, it’s a sign for folks inclined to steal from mailboxes there’s something in there to steal,” he said.

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