Mail Theft in West Seattle, WA
West Seattle Blog publishes Mail-Theft Alert
The West Seattle Blog is a weblog for the community of West Seattle Washington, and includes valuable resources and information on events, traffic, and crime, among other topics.
Recently, the WSB published a post on mail theft that caught my attention. The editors at WSB reprinted an e-mail from a concerned resident who had recently been a victim of mail theft. Don from West Seattle wrote:
“In the neighborhood due south of Alaska Junction’s Jefferson Square, we discovered that mail had been taken from our box, opened, and gone through, in search of credit card information and anything else of value. The perps tossed the remainder in our yard, which was ironic, as one thing of value turned out to be some expensive train tickets for an upcoming vacation trip. The only thing we actually lost was one of those fake credit-card-like things on a junk-mail come-on from American Express, but we found pieces of the neighbor’s mail near our house as well. When we mentioned this to USPS personnel, they told us to call the police and file a report, and let the local postmaster know as well.
BE ON THE LOOKOUT. These creeps take advantage of unlocked mailboxes and have no problem committing local and federal crimes. They are probably working neighborhoods across the area.”
Interestingly, this post elicited a number of responses from readers who had questions, comments, and similar concerns. For example, a blogger by the name of “aim” wrote:
“Please learn from what happened to me. My mail was stolen (from a LOCKED box – they filled out a change of address at the post office) and they got enough medical bills and bank statements to have all the info needed to open accounts all over the state under my name before I ever even knew there was an issue. My roommate’s mail was still coming to the house, so I didn’t notice anything was missing when mine stopped appearing.
It’s been about 7 years and I am STILL trying to clean up the messes. The address to which my mail was sent was on the same street, so often when credit bureaus “confirm” that I actually had an account with random internet or cable provider #123, they miss that it was 10 blocks away, and “confirm” that it is indeed my responsibility. I’ve been fighting this constantly, spending countless hours and dollars to try to regain my credit…”
Blogger “Jesse” wrote:
“I thought tampering with someone’s mail was a federal offense? I’m surprised the police would not take a report on this.”
Then Don, the original e-mailer, responded:
“I don’t know 100% for sure what, if anything, went missing, other than the obviously fake AmEx card that came in as a junk-mail come-on. I wasn’t expecting any bills, renewed cards, or checks in the mail at the time, though.
Tampering with the mail is a federal offense if the perp gets caught. In order for that to happen, it would have to be a high priority for our understaffed, overburdened police force. So it goes. Mailbox is now locked, like it should’ve been in the first place (emphasis added).”
Given the relevance of this post and comment thread to everything we do here at Mail Boss, I decided to add my two cents. I responded:
“That was smart to switch to a locked mailbox. mail theft is a huge problem across the country and particularly in the pacific northwest. the reality is it is highly underreported because people often don’t notice when their mail goes missing.
It is important for consumers to be educated when selecting a locking mailbox. as more and more people switch to locking mailboxes, ID thieves are turning to new methods for stealing mail. Now they often just go around with a crow bar and easily pry open those “cheap locking mailboxes” for example the curbside mail safe.. that one you can actually pry open with your hands.. my company has a video of a 150 lb male doing this.
Anyway, a secure locking mailbox is the first defense against mail identity theft.. and while other precautions must be taken (such as the use of a paper shredder!!) you know you can’t shred what you don’t get!”
To read the original post and the comment thread that ensued, click here. And Don, I hope you purchased a quality security locking mailbox so you never have to worry about this happening to you again!
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