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How To Prevent Stolen Mail and Mailbox Theft
By Stan Kehoujac
There is currently a meth related mail theft epidemic sweeping the United States. Meth users are stealing mail from rural mailboxes for use in identity theft so that they can use that money to buy drugs.
Many people who use an outside mailbox are finding out the hard way just what can happen if your mail is stolen. Mailbox tampering is a common problem and it is growing at an alarming rate due to the problem just mentioned.
Here are some tips on how to stop mailbox theft.
If someone takes your mail you have no idea what kind of information they now have about you. It may be enough information in fact to open accounts in your name, rack up thousands of dollars in credit card charges, even get a fake drivers license and commit crimes using your name.
In the worst of scenarios, such as what happened to a relative of mine, the mail thief was able to steal her identity, commit bank and mail fraud in her name and my relative had warrants out for her arrest that she never knew about until she was stopped for speeding and then taken to jail! Identity theft can be a major pain if not a nightmare.
Unfortunately if you get your mail from a box on the side of the road or in your front yard you are vulnerable like no one else is. Anybody can walk up and take your mail.
How To Prevent Mail Theft
All that an identity thief needs to ruin your life is right out on the street, in your mailbox.
There are a couple of ways to help stop mail theft. The first is to remove all obstacles that block you from seeing your mailbox. This way you can see every person that comes up.
Next you should get rid of all your paper and mail based banking and credit transactions. Choose the online option and you will not only save trees but possibly your good name. If there is no sensitive information in your mailbox then an identity thief can't steal something he could use.
Also it is a good idea to change your utility bills to paperless if your utility allows this. Often utility bills are one of the things needed to show proof of residence to start a new account.
Next step in preventing mail theft is to make sure your mailbox closes tightly. Mail theft is less likely if thieves can't see it. Many cheap mailboxes will blow open with a strong storm and allow your mail to scatter all over the neighborhood. Buy the most sturdy model available and attach it to a very strong post.
Another effective method to help stop mail theft is to install a mailbox chime or mailbox alarm. These will beep on a monitor inside the house each time the mailman comes or someone else opens your mailbox. If you are quick you can get a good luck at the thief or just know when your mail arrives so that it won't linger in the mailbox.
Make it a habit to pick up your mail each time you come home or when you hear the mailbox chime go off. A mail chime or mail alarm is a very good deterrent to stop mail theft.
Another step in preventing mail theft is to have your neighbors, ones that your trust, remove your mail when you are gone for a couple of days or alert the post office. The post office can have your mail kept at the main office until your return from your trip.
Mail theft can be prevented. Don't let an identity thief have all that he needs to ruin your life by allowing him to steal your mail.
If you suspect your mail has been stolen on a regular basis do a free credit check and see if anyone has opened up any accounts in your name. Switch to a post office box for important mail if you suspect someone is stealing your mail.