Stop Mail Theft Once and For All


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Photo by Joe Shlabotnik @ Flickr

These days identity theft is rampant. According to the Federal Trade Commission in a survey taken in 2005 over 8.3 Million adults were victims of some form of identity theft. A common method of would be thieves is to open accounts in the victims name using credit card offers stolen from their mailbox. Outright theft is also a problem, especially if you are a rural customer. Odds are your mail is just waiting at the end of the street for an opportunistic crook. For a slight bit of inconvenience you can safeguard your mail service.

Protecting Outgoing Mail

If you need to send a letter or package through the mail here are the best methods from most secure to least.

  1. Drop of your mail at a physical post office location during business hours.  Physically hand the mail to a Postal worker.
  2. Hand the mail to your postal carrier when they are delivering your mail.
  3. Mail drop boxes inside the post office.
  4. Mail drop boxes inside any other public building.
  5. Mail drop boxes outside the post office.
  6. Other mail drop boxes
  7. Inside your mailbox with the “Hey jack my mail” flag up.

Protecting Inbound Mail

Protecting your inbound mail is a little trickier because your mail can sit unattended for the better part of the day depending on your schedule.  For the purposes of this discussion we’ll assume that you would normally get your mail in a standard mailbox if not then you might already be well protected.  So in the order of most secure to least your mail receiving options.

  1. Take out a Post Office Box and pickup your mail at the Post Office.
  2. Take a out a Mailbox at a dedicated Mail service such as the UPS store, Mailboxes Etc., The Maileporium, etc.
  3. Purchase and install a heavy duty locking mailbox.  Make sure that the slot is appropriate for your normal mail volume as the USPS will not carry keys to unlock your mailbox.
  4. Get out your arc welder and build your own custom mailbox.  Note:  you need to get your custom mailbox approved by the USPS for delivery.
  5. Inside your standard mailbox.

Protect Your Mail While on Vacation

The USPS will be more than happy to hold your mail for you, either by contacting your mail carrier, stopping by your local Post Office or online.  They’ll even deliver all your mail for you once you’re back home.

What to Do if you Think You’re Mail Has been Stolen

If you suspect that you’ve been a victim of mail fraud whatever the form you should file a report at the Postal Inspectors Site.  This is also the same location you’d use if your mail has been tampered with, your mailbox was vandalized, false change of address, or virtually any other form of mail fraud.

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