Latest Update: September 2023
Mail Theft – Your Identity and Your Money
Thieves target residential curbside mailboxes, multi-unit residential mailboxes, and publicly accessible blue U.S. Postal Service boxes in an attempt to collect your personal information, checks, and cash. They typically work in the late night and early morning hours.
Recently, we have seen numerous thefts involving publicly accessible US Postal Service drop boxes where thieves are using glue traps or glue-covered items to “fish” for mail. They use the victim’s personal information to open lines of credit, commit other crimes, or to sell to other criminals. The thieves also alter and forge checks, then cash the checks and pocket the money.
To protect yourself from becoming a victim of mail theft:
- Collect your mail daily, preferably, as soon as it is delivered.
- Avoid mailing any item containing your personal information, checks, or cash.
- If you must mail those items, avoid placing them in residential mailboxes or publicly accessible US Postal Service drop boxes, especially if they show signs of tampering, such as a sticky substance on or around the mail slot.
- Instead, hand mail to US Postal Service employees or use a secure US Postal Service Facility.
If you suspect you are the victim of mail theft, contact your financial institution and secure your account immediately. Then, call and report the crime to the Newport Beach Police Department.
For additional tips to help keep you safe, visit the U.S. Postal Inspection Service website at uspis.gov.
Distraction Theft – Be vigilant of your surroundings “Situational Awareness”
Here are some recommendations for practicing situational awareness and deterring pickpockets:
- As you go about your daily tasks, pay attention to the people, objects, vehicles and events happening around you.
- Limit distractions whenever possible.
- Be aware when you are approached by a stranger or when someone gets into your personal space.
- Trust your instincts if someone or something is making you uncomfortable.
- Lock your vehicle whenever you step outside of it – even if you will be standing nearby (i.e. fueling up at the gas station, etc.). Remember that it just takes a split second while your back is turned for someone to grab your purse, wallet, cell phone or other valuables.
- Never leave your keys in the ignition when you are not in the car. Take them out of the vehicle and lock your car whenever you exit your vehicle.
- Valuables should be stored either where you can keep an eye on them or where they cannot be easily seen or accessed by others.
- Whenever you are out and about, remember to not lose sight of your personal belongings.
Finally, you can help prevent incidents like this from happening to others by passing this information along to your family, friends & neighbors. You may not find yourself in a situation with a pickpocket or scammer, but there’s a chance that you know someone who will – if they haven’t already.
NBPD Crime Prevention & Safety
Thanks to NBPD’s Crime Prevention Specialist, we now have a comprehensive resource at our fingertips that addresses home and vehicle safety and security and so much more.
Be sure to check out this important resource to find ways to protect your family, your home and your possessions.