While individuals may overlook a piece of mail going missing once in a while, a regular pattern of lost mail, the mysterious loss of sensitive correspondence or an Amazon package stolen should raise alarm bells and cause one to take protective actions. This is especially more likely to happen if you don’t have a safe parcel box.
Postal inspectors have their hands full with making deliveries to over 100 million addresses and enforcing over 200 federal laws. As such, mailbox theft may not be topmost on their list of priorities. Mail theft can place the personal information of affected individuals since their identity can be used directly by the criminals who stole them or offered up for sale on online black-market sites.
What To Do When Your Mail Gets Stolen
It’s a good idea to call the credit card company or bank when a replacement card doesn’t show up or contact the sender if you don’t receive a check you were expecting. Some smart criminals also go to the extent of filing a change of address to enable them to easily get their hands on your mail.
The Postal Service sends a validation letter to both new and old addresses when a change of address is filed. If you receive such validation letters, you should take proactive action and alert the Postal Inspectors instead of just ignoring it. Who knows…they may be able to catch the perpetrators.
How to Report Mailbox Theft
If you discover that your mail has been stolen, call the police and file an incident report at your precinct. Once you’ve notified law enforcement, call the Postal Inspectors at 877-876-2455 (press 3) or alert them online by visiting their website and clicking on “Report”.
You should also talk to your neighbors to put everyone on watch. They may not even realize that their mail is being stolen.
Check Your Credit Report
Some mail thefts are orchestrated by organized criminals looking to perpetrate identity theft and other malicious activities. If a correspondence containing sensitive personal and financial information gets stolen, you should check your credit report. Victims of identity theft are entitled to receive free additional copies of their credit reports aside from the ones they get once a year by federal law.
Get in touch with the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax) to request these reports. Once you receive it, go through the report carefully to check for accounts that weren’t created by you. If there are any, contact the police and relevant authorities (bureaus and creditors) to begin the process of disputing such fraudulent items. You should consider using a security freeze and placing a fraud alert on your credit reports.
How to Prevent Mailbox Theft
Stolen mail can leave individuals feeling nervous and extremely vulnerable. They should follow the steps outlined above to report (and possibly recover) their mail. However, the best solution to overcome mail theft is by preventing in the first place.
Talk With Postal Carriers
You can discuss with your postal carrier to understand their mail delivery schedule and get to know of any strange behavior or problems around the local mailboxes. If they voice concern over possible mail thefts in your locale, ask for advice on how to better secure your mailbox or purchase a lockable mailbox.
Scrutinize All Mail
You shouldn’t throw letters from utility companies, credit card companies, banks, healthcare providers and other such businesses away without reading them thoroughly. If you get a statement of account from a source you don’t recognize or receive bills for a service you didn’t use, you should call the company in question to make inquiries.
Also, you should properly dispose of letters from these sources because they typically contain sensitive information. These sources routinely include information like social security numbers, account numbers banking details, and other personally-identifying information like your legal name and date of birth. Such information can be used to steal your identity and damage your credit.
Let’s take a look at more ways to prevent mailbox theft:
Although the above tips can help prevent mailbox theft, the most effective way to do so is to have a safe mailbox/parcel box. Installing a sturdy lockable mailbox can scare opportunists surreptitiously looking for cash in your mail or steal your packages. It can even foil the most determined thieves and criminals looking to steal your identity.
A sturdy, lockable mailbox is a great way to safeguard your mail and packages. There are also advanced anti-theft mailboxes with secure locking mechanisms that are designed to offer more protection.
There are several styles of lockable mailboxes and parcel boxes to choose from; just make sure you consider the volume of mail and type of packages you receive to determine the best size for your needs. Check out MB Sentinel for a top of the line parcel box and never have to worry about mail theft again!
Related: Best Wall Mounted Mailboxes and Parcel Boxes