KIMA News reports rash of mail thefts in Wapato and surrounding areas
Homeowners are feeling victimized as mail thieves are on the prowl. In the past weeks, unsuspecting residents are going to their mailbox to find their newspapers and junk mail strewn about, but their unlocked mailboxes void of sensitive account information and credit card statements. Now, they must spend the time and money to thwart potential identity thieves and safeguard their mailboxes.
The story, originally reported here, is reprinted below:
People living near Wapato say they’ve had their identities stolen after their mail was taken. Many of the thefts are around Konnowac Pass Road, where Susan Hattrup lives. She says, “it’s a real frustration, it’s just a feeling of violation actually.”
Hattrup got a locked mail box after she knew for sure someone took her mail and her newspapers are now thrown over the fence. The small rural community is keeping an even closer eye out for suspicious activity and sending block watch e-mails. “The problem with mail boxes we have, says Block watch Coordinator Mark McAllister, is, “they’re real thin metal and even if you put a pad lock on them it’s easily broken into.”
We asked the sheriff’s department about the problem and they tell us it’s county wide. In the last two months they’ve had 16 reports of mail theft and 10 of identity theft, some related to the stolen mail. People usually steal the mail from boxes on country roads, hoping to find your secret information, and to go after your identity.
No matter where you live, if you’re concerned about your mail getting stolen, consider a sturdy locked mailbox or one at the post office. They also suggest you drop outgoing mail in a big, blue drop box instead of leaving bills or other vital information in your personal mailbox. Hattrup points out, “they could have stolen my bank account information stolen, my visa bill, all different kinds of bills so it’s a real concern.”
If you think your mail has been taken, call the sheriff’s department or police first. Your post office will have more information on locked mailboxes.
Mail theft is a huge problem all across the country. In 5-10 years time, no one will have an unlocked mailbox, and we’ll all think back to the “good ol’ days” when we left our account info and credit card statements, bills, etc. all out in a tin box on the side of the road for any passerby to steal.
The best defense against mail identity theft is a security curbside locking mailbox. Most locking mailboxes (as mentioned in this article) only provide a false sense a security and leave you vulnerable to the nightmare of identity theft. You need to make sure when you invest in a locking mailbox that it is made of heavy-gauge steel and has anti-pry features so that it can’t be easily violated.
In the Wapato and surrounding areas, there are several places where you can purchase a secure mailbox at an affordable price. Try these stores:
- Ideal Lumber & Hardware Inc. in Toppenish
- Ace Hardware in Yakima
- Roy’s Ace Hardware in Yakima
- Coastal Farm & Ranch in Yakima
- Right Hardware in Yakima
Be sure to ask for the Mail Boss Locking Security Mailbox if you want true protection against mail identity theft. In addition to having peace of mind, you will be supporting a local design and manufacturer, as well as your local hardware retail business!