Mail theft is happening across the nation, and many people are turning to locking mailboxes for protection. Here at Mail Boss, we think in a few years time, locking mailboxes will be the norm as people make the connection between mail theft and identity theft. In the meantime, we’re going to do everything we can to help educate people about the danger of leaving your mail in an un locked mailbox, the prevalence of mail identity theft, and the importance of covering all your bases (including, of course, locking your mailbox) in identity theft prevention.
So today, for your reading pleasure, we bring you… Mail Theft in Action – from stolen mail to stolen identities. Sometimes the mail thieves are caught, sometimes they are not. But in all cases, the victims failed to take one or both of these important precautions: (1) use a quality security locking mailbox; and/or (2) send mail from a blue USPS secure mailbox.
First, we have some mail theft stories from across the nation with the juicy stuff highlighted in red.
MAIL THEFT ACROSS THE NATION
From KATV 7 — 7/10/09
Conway Officials Look into Mail Theft
CONWAY, Arkansas — “Some Conway residents have opened their mailboxes to find nothing there. Others found their mail scattered in the street, blocks away from their mailboxes. The Conway Police department says they’ve had about 20 calls of mail stolen or scattered around town this week. Some say they have missing checks or credit card applications. Others say they haven’t seen mail in five days. Most of the incidents have been on Freedom Drive. Post office inspectors are looking into the reports, but they worry the information possibly stolen could include account numbers, checks, or credit card applications: sensitive information that can be used for other crimes. […] Officer Sharon Carter says, “Don’t leave your mail overnight. Use a lock box. There are locking mailboxes out there designed to lock and not let anyone in until you use your key to get your own mail.”
From The Leaf-Chronicle — 7/15/09
Mail scheme hits Clarksville
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Tennessee — “Mary Lou Thompson put her credit card bill in her Wimbledon Court home mailbox on June 28. A week later, she checked her account online and noticed $929.37 missing. […] Thompson was one of an unknown number of victims targeted by a mail-tampering and identity theft scheme in Montgomery County […]. […] The evidence has been linked to the mail tampering scheme, which runs from Florida to Ohio […]. The investigation is ongoing, and theft reports are still coming in […]. The mailbox thefts reach back as far as January and range from stolen bills to graduation cards to thousands of dollars in stolen electronic equipment […]. Most victims have reported bills stolen from mailboxes.”
From The Farmington Daily Times — 7/15/09
Mailbox bandits strike again in Bloomfield
FARMINGTON, New Mexico — “A rash of mailbox unit break-ins across Bloomfield are leaving police concerned about identity theft and fraud. Numerous mailbox units were broken into on Newby Lane, Blanco Boulevard, Calle Del Rio and in the Mesa Manzano subdivision in the last 10 days […]. Thieves are waiting until the mail is delivered and then breaking off the back panels of the mailbox units and taking all of the mail […]. They probably are looking for checks, identification numbers or anything they can use to establish a line of credit […]. Police expect an increase in identity theft and fraud cases in the next three or four months as a result of the mail theft.”
From WMBB 13 — 7/14/09
Bay County Resident is a Victim of Check Fraud
PANAMA CITY, Florida — “If you mail checks from your home, you may want to think again. It could lead to identity theft. A Bay County resident found that out the hard way. On Monday, David Horton checked his bank account and noticed $432.00 were gone. […] David is a victim of identity theft. A check he wrote, intended for his mortgage company, turned up at an area Wal-Mart. […] It’s easy for a criminal to get access to your personal information. If you pay your bills by putting a check in the mail, anyone can take that check out and have direct access to your banking information. That’s why it’s so important to take preventative measures, like sending your checks from the post office, instead of home. Sheriff’s Office handle’s fraud cases and they say it’s a common occurrence. “There’s several cases a day that come in, in reference to credit card fraud, check fraud, and financial crimes such as that,” said Sgt. Daffin.”
And now, we have some stories about mail thieves who were (thankfully!) caught. Unfortunately, most of these criminals will just get a slap on the wrist and be back at it in little or no time. All the more reason protecting your mail with locking mailboxes is so important!
MAIL THIEVES CAUGHT
From Shreveport Times — 7/10/09
More charges against suspected identity theft ringleader
CADDO, Louisiana — “The Caddo sheriff’s office wrapped up an 18-month investigation into a major mail theft and forgery ring Thursday after bringing additional charges against a man they say was the leader of the ring. […] Mario Travez Hulbin, 26, is accused of stealing mail from residences along Ellerbe Road and South Lakeshore Drive and businesses on Burt Kouns Industrial Loop to cash counterfeit checks and obtain credit through identity theft […]. […] Hulbin is accused of heading the forgery ring, which involved at least 15 others who he used to cash counterfeit checks in exchange for a cut of the money […]”.
From Chicago Tribune — 7/15/09
Man faces mail theft charges in 3 Indiana counties
MARTINSVILLE, Indiana — “Authorities say a 45-year-old man cashed checks allegedly stolen from mailboxes in at least three counties. Charles E. Howard is charged in Morgan, Brown and Marion counties with mail theft, forgery, theft, burglary and receiving stolen property. He also is charged in Morgan County with being a habitual offender. Morgan County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Dan Downing says [that] three county residents said checks sent to them had been taken from their mailboxes and cashed. […] Police and federal postal inspectors placed Howard under surveillance and arrested him June 30 after seeing him allegedly removing mail from Monroe and Brown counties.”