Why Thieves Steal Your Mail and How You Can Stop It
A few bills going missing from your mailbox may seem like a minor thing, but don’t become complacent – you could be the victim of identity thieves. We explain how they do it, and what steps you can take to secure your mail and protect your identity.
In April 2015, the ABC reported on an Australian woman named Rhonda whose mail was stolen. She brushed it off as a petty theft but months later she receives a strange text message from her bank asking if her mobile number had changed. Concerned, Rhonda checked her bank account and found the $6 000 balance had been cleared.
From just one mail theft, criminals had been able to garner enough information to slowly steal Rhonda’s identity and then her money using phone banking.
A Common Occurrence
Sadly, this is not uncommon. There were 772 000 Australian victims of identity from 2014 to 2015. Mail theft is one of the standard ways fraudsters get their hands on the personal information they need to begin impersonating you online or on the phone.Older homeowners are the most popular victims, as they are generally wealthier, have good credit histories, and receive more mail than other demographics.
How to Stop the Thieves
Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best – locking up your mail securely will keep it, and the information it contains out of criminal hands. Many standard mail boxes can be opened by easily obtained master keys, or don’t have locks at all. Upgrade to a secure, specialised mailbox lock that is not vulnerable to lock-picking or master-keys. An experienced locksmith can advise you of the best lock to secure your mail box and install it correctly.
Upgrade Your Mailbox
If you have a mailbox that is inherently vulnerable – perhaps it is made of flimsy tin or wood – a lock won’t be enough. Your best bet will be to invest in a new, secure mailbox. There are many on the market ranging from simple but sturdy cast iron to high-tech electronic mail boxes that open with codes or remotes. If you go for a more traditional option, consider running it by a locksmith to assess how secure it is.
Switch to Email
Switching as much potentially sensitive correspondence to email as possible will keep it out of your mailbox in the first place. This should be done in concert with securing your mailbox though, as there will always be some things that arrive physically. Be sure to beef up your online security and change your password regularly too, as identity thieves also operate online.
As well as ensuring your mailbox is secure and switching to email where possible, it could also be worth shredding personal documents or putting them in a safe if they need to be kept.
Call United Locksmiths on 1800 539 636 or enquire online and protect yourself against mail theft.