Mail Theft Monday – 11/15/10
Crime Watch: Latest property crimes reported in Clay County
The Florida Times-Union – 11/14/10
(CLAY COUNTY, FLORIDA) Criminal Mischief […] Nov. 14 […] A mailbox was kicked over at a residence on White Owl Road, Orange Park. […]
Two mail boxes and one post were damaged at two residences on Rivergate Drive, Eagle Harbor.
A mail box and post were damaged at one residence and a mailbox was stolen from a second residence on Country Walk Drive, Eagle Harbor.
A mailbox and post were damaged at a residence on Commodore Point Drive, Eagle Harbor.
COMMENTS: Mailbox vandalism is very common – almost an art form in some parts of the country. But mailbox theft is also on the rise, and if you are a victim, the damage can be much greater than the cost to replace your mailbox. You may be facing the nightmare of identity theft, which takes months if not years to reconcile. To prevent mail theft (and thwart mailbox vandals at the same time) use the baseball bat Mail Boss, which can’t be fished by hand or pried open with a screwdriver. To see the Mail Boss take on a baseball bat, watch this video on YouTube.
Two arrested for mail theft in East Texas city
KLTV 7 – 11/12/10
(WHITEHOUSE, TEXAS) “Whitehouse police have arrested two people on federal charges of mail theft.
Justin Eric Yanez, 23, of Overton, and Nicholes Adam Hale, 21, of Kilgore were arrested. Yanez faces charges of fraudulent use/possession of ID and theft. Hale faces the same charges, as well as a charge of tampering with government records.
The pair was caught in the act of stealing checks and some DVD orders from several mailboxes in the city.
Waller also told KLTV 7 that police have recovered a large amount of mail that was taken by the two suspects. Police are asking Whitehouse residents to contact any recipients to make sure that mail is being received.
The Postal Inspection Service is also assisting the Whitehouse Police Department in the investigation.”
COMMENTS: If you suspect your mail has been stolen, notify the police, the USPIS and the FTC immediately and issue a fraud alert with one of the 3 main credit bureaus. This is free and it may prevent thieves from being able to use your sensitive information.
Most people do not realize when their mail is stolen – and it is not just outgoing bill payments, it’s also incoming mail for identity theft. To prevent mail-ID theft, use a high security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss that can’t be easily violated.
Police: Man stole checks from mailboxes
Carroll County Times – 11/12/10
(FINKSBURG, MARYLAND) “Police are reminding residents to keep a close eye on their finances after arresting a Westminster man who was allegedly stealing checks from mailboxes in Finksburg Thursday.
Todd Allen Kollman, 25, of the 400 block of London Court, has been charged with multiple counts of theft less than $100, forgery of private documents and opening letters without permission.
Maryland State Police troopers responded to a call Thursday in the 2100 block of Misty Meadow Road around 8:17 a.m., after a witness reported a man rummaging through mailboxes and removing mail from them, according to a Maryland State Police press release. The man, later identified as Kollman, was arrested at the intersection of Misty Meadow and Hidden Brook roads.
Kollman had checks on his person from residents in the Bachman Valley Road and Misty Meadow Road areas dating from Oct. 26 to Thursday. Kollman appeared to try to erase the name on the checks and replace it with his own, and in at least one case tried to cash a check at a local bank.
Checks recovered included checks being sent and received, state police Westminster barrack commander Lt. Andrew Winner said.
“One of the checks was someone’s mortgage check,” he said.
All of the check owners were contacted regarding the theft and recovery of their checks.
The incident was likely confined to homes in the area where Kollman was arrested, Winner said, but he was somewhat concerned because of the two-week span between the checks recovered.
“We’re wondering how many other mailboxes were entered during that time frame,” he said.
Anyone who has discovered a discrepancy in their bank accounts or has reason to believe they may have been a victim of theft from their mailbox should contact Trooper Chris Esposito at 410-386-3000.
Unfortunately, crimes like this are not out of the norm around the holidays, Winner said.
“With Christmas and other holidays coming up, more people are sending gifts in the form of checks through the mail,” he said.
His advice to residents who might be sending checks is that it’s safer to drop them off at the post office.
State police suggest people confirm their mail, and specifically checks, have made it to their desired destination and they have received any checks they have been due.”
COMMENTS: Thieves often target your mailbox looking for information to use for everything from check fraud to identity theft. Leaving the flag up on your mailbox is a big No-No. Just as it signals the postal carrier you have mail to send, it signals criminals there are likely checks inside. In seconds, they can steal bill payments including checks that can easily be washed and fraudulently cashed. The solution? Never send sensitive mail from an unsecured mailbox. Take checks directly to the post office, or better yet, use online bill pay. It’s more secure!
By that same token, thieves also target your mailbox to steal incoming mail for identity theft. What’s in your mailbox? Probably most everything you shred or burn rather than simply discarding in the trash: Bank statements, credit card offers, social security statements, courtesy checks, utility bills, etc. All of these sensitive documents can be used for identity theft, the fastest growing crime in America. If you become a victim, you can count on spending months if not years to resolve the aftermath.
To protect yourself, use a high security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss that can’t be fished by hand or easily pried open with a screwdriver. The MailBoss keeps your incoming mail safe and secure for weeks until you retrieve it with your own unique key.
Man pleads guilty to MB mailbox thefts
WMBF – 11/12/10
(COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA) “A man charged with conspiracy to possess stolen mail and to commit bank fraud pleaded guilty in a federal court, according to U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles.
Bobbie Cameron, 46, pled guilty to the charges after evidence established Cameron, along with three other defendants, stole checks and other mail from mail boxes in the Myrtle Beach area in order to commit bank fraud.
Cameron, Sturkey, Ledesma and Scupp committed these crimes between July and November of 2007. They would target credit card convenience checks to steal from mailboxes. They called this crime “mailboxin.”
The checks would be used to open bank accounts and cash the checks.
The maximum penalty Cameron can receive is a fine of $1 million and/or imprisonment for 30 years, as well as a special assessment of $100.”
COMMENTS: Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the country, and one of the most common ways thieves obtain your personal information is through mail theft. Mailboxes offer a plethora of sensitive documents including bank account statements, pre-approved credit card offers, social security statements, courtesy checks, utility bills and more. Thieves can use these documents to open fraudulent credit card accounts and destroy your credit.
To protect yourself, use a high security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss – it can’t be fished by hand or easily pried open with a screwdriver, so your mail will remain safe from would-be identity thieves until you retrieve it with your unique key.
Also, never send sensitive mail (bill payments, checks, etc.) from an unsecured mailbox. Bring checks directly to the post office, or better yet use online bill pay – it’s more secure.
Finally, always shred or burn sensitive documents rather than tossing them in the trash. But remember, most of these documents come in your mailbox – and you must protect them at the source: the curbside mailbox.
Man pleads guilty to stealing mail
ABC 15 – 11/12/10
(MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA) “US Attorney Bill Nettles says Bobbie Cameron, 46, pleaded guilty in federal court in Florence, to conspiracy to possess stolen mail and to commit bank fraud.
Prosecutors say Cameron, along with three others who already pleaded guilty, stole checks and other mail from Myrtle Beach area mail boxes in order to commit bank fraud. The group would drive around targeting credit card convenience checks to steal from mail boxes which they described as “mailboxin.” They would use the checks to open bank accounts and cash the checks.
They say the crimes took place between July and November of 2007.
[…] Nettles says Cameron could be fined as much as $1,000,000 and/or face 30 years imprisonment, plus a special assessment of $100.”
COMMENTS: “Mailboxing” (also known as mail-identity theft) is on the rise across the nation, and residents need to take precautions to protect themselves. The best defense is a high security locking mailbox to protect incoming mail. In addition, never leave sensitive outgoing mail in an unsecured mailbox. Bring checks directly to the post office, or better yet use online bill pay.
Mail Thief Caught on Camera, More Victims Come Forward
CBS Atlanta – 11/12/10
(ATLANTA, GEORGIA) “CBS Atlanta first aired surveillance video of a man stealing mail from a home in Southeast Atlanta. The victim, Ana, installed the cameras after her mail and then her identity was stolen.
A couple living several streets over say someone has been stealing their mail and they too were victims of identity theft. Raul Aparcana said he thinks it’s the same person. Like Ana, their mail was stolen from a locked mailbox.
He and his girlfriend also found Ana’s mail being forwarded to a mailbox next door that belonged to a vacant home.
The victims said the mail theft has gone on for months.
DeKalb County Police said mail theft is not uncommon. They say what’s uncommon in these cases is the guy keeps coming back.
Detectives said they are not sure if the cases are connected and they are investigating.”
COMMENTS: This post highlights a problem for consumers. Namely, there are a plethora of locking mailboxes in the marketplace that do not provide real security or protection against mail identity thieves. They can be easily fished by hand or pried open with a household screwdriver in just seconds.
Essentially, there are 3 steps to mail-identity theft protection:
- Use a high security locking mailbox (like the Mail Boss) that can’t be fished by hand or easily violated with a screwdriver – there are several other secure models available as well including the Fort Knox and the Armadillo.
- Never send checks or sensitive mail from an unsecured mailbox. Bring bill payments directly to the post office or better yet use online bill pay – it’s more secure.
- Always shred sensitive documents before discarding them to prevent dumpster diving. (Most people already shred or burn their sensitive documents without realizing that most of it comes in their mailbox. It’s much easier for thieves to steal from the mailbox, too, than from the dump.
We strive to provide homeowners with this information on our blog, and provide a real solution to mail identity theft prevention with the Mail Boss.
There are several hardware stores in the Atlanta area that carry the Mail Boss, including (among others):
Or, to find a Mail Boss dealer near you, use our Store Locator.
Charges Certified Against Two Women Accused of Mailbox Thefts
WHSV 3 – 11/11/10
(STAUNTON, VIRGINIA) “A pair of women who were recently indicted for allegedly stealing from mailboxes in Waynesboro could soon face another indictment in Staunton.
Hillary Reed and Melissa Nofflett had several fraud and theft related charges certified to the grand jury Wednesday.
The duo and two others are accused of taking mail from people’s mailboxes to look for cash, checks and personal information.
April Brown and Dion Saunders, who were also charged in the alleged scheme, had their hearing continued until next month.”
COMMENTS: Mailboxes are frequently targeted by identity thieves looking for cash, checks, or personal information. To protect yourself against mail identity theft, use a high security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss that can’t be fished by hand or easily pried open with a screwdriver.
Mail Thief Caught on Camera But Still Free: Southeast Atlanta Neighborhood Says Man Stealing Identities, Money
CBS Atlanta – 11/11/10
(ATLANTA, GEORGIA) “Residents of a southeast Atlanta neighborhood said someone has been stealing their mail for more than a year. They said the person is using the mail to steal money and commit identity theft.
Ana, who asked her last name not be used, said, “I am kind of at our wits end. I don’t know what else to do.”
She said dozens of bank accounts and credit cards were opened with her information.
The family put up surveillance cameras. They captured several videos of the same man stealing their mail. The family installed a mailbox that needs to be unlocked to access the mail. The video shows a man reaching his hand through the top slip and still getting away with the families mail.
“It’s very aggravating. I’ve called the police. I’ve talked to the post office office. I’ve called the post master,” said Ana.
She and her neighbors said the guy keeps coming back. Residents of the three neighboring houses said they are also victims.
Ana’s neighbor Sam said his identity was also stolen.
Sam, who didn’t want his last name used said, “It’s like what do you do? My girlfriend’s license was stolen!”
Not knowing what to do, a few days ago Ana said they put bean dip in her mailbox. Surveillance video shows the man reaching in and pulling out the plate. Ana said he then slashed their car tires.
Ana said, “I just want somebody to pay attention. I know there are more important crimes going on, but you know it starts off simple and it escalates.”
DeKalb County police said they are investigating and have increased patrols on the street. Investigators said unfortunately they cannot get a good description of the man from the surveillance video.”
COMMENTS: Mail theft is an epidemic across the nation. Criminals are targeting your mailboxes where they can find a plethora of information for identity theft: bank account statements, pre-approved credit card offers, courtesy checks, utility bills, social security statements and more.
The best defense against mail identity theft is a HIGH-SECURITY locking mailbox that CANNOT be fished by hand or easily pried open with a screwdriver. Most “security” mailboxes can be easily violated, leaving you vulnerable to the nightmare of mail identity theft. When purchasing a locking mailbox, make sure that it is made of strong and durable materials, cannot be fished by hand (as happened to the woman in this story) nor easily violated. It should have a anti-pry mechanism to prevent leveraged entry.
One high quality locking mailbox that cannot be fished by hand or easily violated with a screwdriver is the Mail Boss, which you can find online or at any Ace Hardware or True Value. The Mail Boss WILL NOT succumb to your average mail-identity thief.
Judges certifies charges in mail theft ring
The News Virginian – 11/10/10
(STAUNTON, VIRGINIA) “A Staunton General District Court judge Wednesday certified charges against two of three suspected members of a mail theft ring. The third skipped her court appearance.
Staunton police this summer charged April Renee Brown, 28, of Stuarts Draft; Melissa “Joy” Nofflett, 33, of Staunton; and Hillary Reed, 31, of Staunton, with petty larceny, forgery and obtaining money through false pretenses.
Police filed 32 more charges against the ring in August accusing it of targeting of residential mailboxes in July.
According to police, the group targeted homes along Preston Drive, Parkview Avenue and Spring Hill Road, among other places. The crew would cruise streets, stopping at mailboxes to steal outgoing checks written to various businesses, authorities said.
Once they’d collected enough checks, police said the ring would attempt to cash them at area Food Lion grocery stores.
More than a dozen victims Wednesday appeared in court prepared to testify against the ring.
Members of the ring also face charges for similar crimes in Waynesboro and Augusta County, according to court records.
Authorities issued an arrest warrant for Brown on Wednesday. She did not appear in court for her preliminary hearing.
Nofflett and Reed are scheduled to appear before a Staunton grand jury Jan. 17.”
COMMENTS:Thieves often target outgoing mail to steal checks they can wash and fraudulently cash. As such, it is not a good idea to ever leave checks in an unsecured mailbox. If you must make bill payments via old-fashioned checks rather than online bill pay, always bring bill payments directly to the post office.
In addition, thieves target your incoming mail to steal sensitive information for identity theft. In your mailbox, thieves can find credit card offers, bank account statements, utility bills, courtesy checks and more. To prevent mail identity theft, use a high security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss that can’t be fished by hand or pried open with a screwdriver.
Lastly, always shred sensitive documents (most of which come in your mailbox) before discarding them. That way, criminals will not be able to steal your personal information from your trash.
Police investigating string of mailbox thefts in Ely
Eastern Iowa News Now – 11/9/10
(ELY, IOWA) “Linn County police are investigating a series of mailbox thefts in Ely.
Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner said several mailboxes were stolen from residences Monday night in the small town about 12 miles southeast of Cedar Rapids.
Ely resident Fran Buresh said she was aware of between six and seven homes which had its mailboxes taken.
She added it did not appear to be a case of vandalism as the mailboxes were taken off of the poles they stood on.
Gardner said they are currently following some leads, but do not have a suspect in custody.”
COMMENTS: Thieves often target residential mailboxes to steal mail, which includes a wealth of personal sensitive information for identity theft. Credit card numbers, bank account statements, courtesy checks, utility bills, etc. all can be used to steal your ID. However, it’s pretty uncommon for thieves to take your WHOLE mailbox. Regardless, mail identity theft is on the rise, and it makes no sense to leave your most personal information on the side of the road for any passerby to steal. Use a high security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss, which can’t be fished by hand or easily pried open with a screwdriver, to protect your mail and safeguard your identity.
Women Indicted for Stealing Mail Out of Waynesboro Mailboxes
WHSV 3 – 11/9/10
(WAYNESBORO, VIRGINIA) “A grand jury in Waynesboro says there is enough evidence to try two women accused of stealing from mailboxes. On Monday, Hillary Reed and April Renee Brown were indicted.
Police say they, and two others, were taking mail from people’s mailboxes to look for cash, checks and personal information.
A search of another suspect’s residence found several of the stolen letters, and even identified more residents who didn’t even know they were victims.
Reed is expected to enter a plea to obtaining money under false pretense and petit larceny later this month.
Brown has a plea date set in December for forgery charges.
The women also face more than a dozen related charges in Augusta County.”
COMMENTS: These charges are much less serious than the federal charges they could face for mail theft. In all likelihood, these women will never see the inside of a prison and will be back at it in no time. Criminals are learning that they can find a wealth of information for identity theft in your mailbox, and are targeting it to steal bank statements, credit card offers, courtesy checks, and more. The best defense against mail identity theft is a high security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss that can’t be fished by hand or easily pried open with a screwdriver. In Waynesboro, you can find the Mail Boss at Rocking R Hardware.
Tahlequah Daily Press – 11/8/10
(TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA) “Tahlequah police received a report Thursday about a possible mail theft.
Jean Gilmore reported to officers she knew she was to receive mail Tuesday and did not receive the mail. […]”
COMMENTS: Even in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, thieves are stealing from rural mailbox in efforts to obtain sensitive information for identity theft. To protect yourself, use a high security locking mailbox to keep your most sensitive information from would-be identity thieves. Also, never send sensitive mail from an unsecured mailbox – bring bill payments directly to the post office, or better yet use online bill pay. Last, always shred sensitive documents (most of which come in your mailbox) before discarding them to thwart dumpster divers.
Mail thefts hit Medina
Bellevue Reporter – 11/8/10
(BELLEVUE, WASHINGTON) “Multiple locked mail boxes in Medina were tampered with between 5 p.m. Oct. 31 and 8 a.m. Nov. 1, according to Medina Police.
Approximately five of the mailboxes in the 3400 to 4000 block of Hunts Point Road were damaged at the lock, while the others were not forced open. Only some of the mailboxes had mail removed from them.
Medina Police are investigating to determine if the situation was a Halloween hoax or a continuation of previous mail thefts in the area.”
COMMENTS: Halloween hoaxes include mailbox baseball or throwing pumpkins at mailboxes, among other acts of malicious mischief. Not included: prying open “secure” locking mailboxes. These are professionals using tools – most likely a flathead screwdriver – to pry open locking mailboxes to steal mail used for identity theft. This is not new in Hunt’s Point. (Read previous story here.)
To the victims of mail tampering in Hunts Point, we would recommend putting a credit alert with one of the 3 major credit unions for the next year, just to be safe. Monitor your credit report. Often crooks get your sensitive mail – you might not even miss it if you weren’t expecting it. Then they may not use it for awhile… until they collect enough information for identity theft.
Our company manufactures high security locking mailboxes that cannot be pried open with a screwdriver – we are local to Hunts Point, based in Redmond. When mailboxes were previously burglarized in Medina, we went to see which brand of “secure” mailboxes these were. Turns out they are the “TrailMaster” by Security Manufacturing Corporation in Hunter Green. We have one of these boxes here at our offices and found in our R&D that it is much MORE difficult to pry open than MOST locking mailboxes available. Still, it doesn’t hold a candle to the Mail Boss.
When I examined the mailboxes that were burglarized in Hunts Point, I noticed that a FEW were pried open, and others had the locks punched out. This area is very affluent and seems very safe – just goes to show you, mail thieves are very brazen and will stop at nothing to steal your personal sensitive information.
Most all of Hunts Point already has locking mailboxes – the TrailMaster – which has not withstood prying or tampering by mail thieves. For those who have not yet converted to a locking mailbox, we urge you to consider the Mail Boss. Do your research and you will find that it cannot be fished by hand nor can it be easily pried or violated by would-be identity thieves.
Police Logs for Nov. 6 and 7
The News Review – 11/7/10
(ROSEBURG, OREGON) “[…] 8:54 a.m. — Mail theft reported in the 400 block of Industrial Drive in Roseburg. […]”
COMMENTS: Mail identity theft is an epidemic in many parts of Oregon. In Roseburg, you can find the Mail Boss at Coastal Farm and Ranch and Douglas County Farmers Co-Op.
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