Stolen Mail: What to Do?November 24th, 2010 by Staff Writer
Stolen mail is an illegal offense that does more than just irritate you. You could be losing purchases, cash, gift cards and sensitive financial information that makes it possible for a thief to assume your identity and/or charge purchases to you. If you suspect that your mail is being stolen, take the following precautions:
Make Sure Your Mail Is Missing on a Regular Basis
Mail inevitably gets lost sometimes in the delivery process, so it’s quite possible you’re not dealing with stolen mail, but rather lost mail, which you’ll have little chance of recovering. However, keep in mind what mail should be coming your way and look to see if your mail gets lost on a regular basis or only your important mail is being stolen. Know about when you’ll be receiving packages, greeting cards and financial statements, all of which may pose an attractive target for thieves. (Greeting cards often include cash or gift cards.) If more than one of these items is missing in a month or these items are missing on a regular basis, you may be dealing with mail that’s been stolen.
Speak with Landlord
Speak with your landlord about putting out a notice that mail has been stolen from the complex, which may put the thief, if he or she lives in the complex, on alert and cause less thefts in the future. It will also encourage your neighbors to keep a closer eye on the mailboxes and report any suspicious individuals. However, it is possible that the thief is someone from outside the complex or even your mail carrier or a mail sorter at the post office. If you suspect a thief outside of the complex or you want to report this illegal activity to the proper authorities, you can contact the USPS.
Reporting the Theft
Even if you’re unsure who’s stealing your mail, you may be able to prompt an investigation for stolen mail in your area. Don’t contact your local post office; instead, contact the USPS Postal Inspection Service. If you witness the theft, you can call the police.
Reducing Enticing Mail
Without proof, it can be difficult to prosecute a neighbor, a mail carrier or anyone else for your stolen mail, but you can take precautions to keep your mail from being stolen again. If someone is sending you cash or a gift card, ask that they give you a heads-up and send you a check or money order instead, which would be more difficult for a thief to use. Start asking your banks, lenders and credit cards to send you online statements instead of sending you statements through the mail. Remember that even if you don’t receive bills, you’re still responsible for timely payments, so reduce the chances of lost or stolen mail by paying online.
If you suspect that your financial documents have been stolen, monitor your account activity online and report the possible theft of your information to your financial institutions as soon as possible. You may be able to change account numbers or at least be asked to watch for any fraudulent charges or withdrawals that can prove illicit activity before you change account number.