Unless you’re waiting for something specific to arrive in the mail, it’s easy to postpone checking your mailbox until you have time. After all, you’ll probably find a bunch of uninteresting things there, from junk mail to bills you might be avoiding. But as tempting as it is to let your mailbox sit as it is overnight, you expose yourself to thieves. Unfortunately, mail theft is even more common than you might think.The US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) has stated that it has received nearly 300,000 complaints on mail theft in the past year alone. Read on to find out what the experts say you should never leave in your mailbox overnight.
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Your mailbox is a major target for thieves and leaving mail in it overnight can put you at high risk of theft, according to experts at US security firm Allied Universal. Adam sale, a USPS inspector, told ABC affiliate KATU 2 in Portland, Ore. that most mail thieves tend to strike at night.
“Investigating mail theft is difficult. There are no witnesses to the theft. Often it happens overnight, so people are not there, âhe explained. To prevent your mailbox from being targeted, you should never leave your mail there overnight. Instead, you should either receive the mail as soon as it arrives or have a neighbor pick it up for you.
“Ask the post office to keep your mail while you are traveling, “Allied Universal also advises.” If you change your address, immediately notify your post office and anyone you deal with in the mail. “
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Certain mail containing personal and confidential information, such as blank checks, bank statements, insurance documents and credit applications, are even more risky to leave overnight. “If you receive statements containing personal information in the mail, get your mail out of the mailbox as soon as you can,” warns the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
You may be a victim of identity theft if your personal information has been stolen from your mailbox. To spot identity theft, the FTC advises you to continually track what bills you owe and when they are due, review your bills, check your bank statement, and review your credit reports.
“If you stop receiving an invoice, it could be a sign that someone has changed your billing address. Charges for things you didn’t buy could be a sign of identity theft. Likewise, a new bill that you weren’t expecting, âsays the FTC. In terms of bank account and credit reports, withdrawals you haven’t made could be a sign of identity theft, and accounts in your name that you don’t recognize.
When it comes to sending mail, never put outgoing mail in your mailbox either. âDrop out outgoing mail, especially if it contains checks, in the slot inside the post office or in a US postal collection box,â advises Allied Universal.
Unfortunately, the risk of mail theft doesn’t just apply to your personal mailbox. The USPS recommends never leaving items in their public blue drop boxes overnight, either. Sale told KATU 2 that while these boxes are designed to be very secure, they can easily become the target of thieves, just like personal mailboxes.
“People who send items using blue collection boxes: Pay attention to the times indicated on these boxes and don’t drop off mail after the collection time to keep it overnight, ârecommends Sale. Collection times can be found on the blue box labels, but you can also check the USPS website for the collection time for a specific box.
“Please note that pickup times may vary depending on the day of the week, ânotes the USPS. âOccasional changes in transportation may result in adjustments to collection times. “
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Taking steps to prevent your mail from being stolen can be even more important now, as certain types of mail theft have become more common. Mike Adelman, president and CEO of the Ohio Bankers League, told CBS affiliate WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio, that there has been a significant increase in bank fraud during the pandemic, particularly in regarding mail theft.
“Unfortunately, check fraud has been with us probably for as long as we have checks, and we have certainly seen throughout the pandemic that fraudsters of all types are really taking advantage, âhe told WBNS- TV. According to Adelman, it has become even easier for thieves to steal checks from mailboxes and forge them amid COVID, as they can deposit them through ATMs or using mobile phone apps without ever having to come face to face with a real bank teller.
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