With recent mail thefts occurring in our County, the Goleta Police would like to offer some tips to prevent package theft as well as theft of mail used for fraud. The mailbox at your house is often an easily accessible place for thieves to steal checks, credit cards, gift cards and information that can easily make you the victim of identity theft. Just like we take steps to help secure our homes and businesses, you can take steps to help foil mail theft. Here are some tips to help prevent mail theft:
- Set up electronic billing. This avoids paying bills by checks that can be intercepted, altered and cashed. Many banks and companies offer automated services that can be set to a scheduled reoccurrence.
- Consider going paperless. You can sign up for electronic statements so there is nothing in your mailbox for identity thieves to steal and use.
- Consider using a post office box for all important mail. It is difficult for your mail to be compromised if it is secured and locked in a post office.
- Opt-out of credit card offers by going to OptOutPrescreen.com where you can halt prescreened credit card and insurance offers.
- Sign up for delivery notifications. The United States Postal Services offers a free service called Informed Delivery that gives you the ability to preview images of your mail and manage your incoming packages.
- Install a locking mailbox. Most mail thefts are from unlocked, standard mailboxes. There are several locking mailbox options available at local hardware stores and more customized and decorative options found on-line. Make sure you get one that is Approved by the Postmaster General and have it properly installed at the correct height and accessibility for your mail carrier.
- Mail thieves target groups or clusters of unlocked mailboxes. Consider getting together with your neighborhood to set up a locking group or cluster mailbox. This option will require coordination with your local Post Office.
Pictured: Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputy sorting through stolen mail (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)