The past few weeks mail theft has become a serious and growing problem for our neighbors in the area between 41st Avenue and 46th Avenue so along Military Road South and along 46th Avenue South to South 188th street. Day after day numerous pieces of mail has been removed from both unsecured and locked mailboxes and end up littering the streets the roads.
Mail theft is more than a nuisance; it is a serious crime, yet it is assumed that many residents don’t report mail theft for such reasons as:
- they don’t know how
- they got no feedback/outcome from earlier reports
- they are not sure what’s missing if anything
- they are not sure what all is involved; they are not sure it’s worth the trouble.
Stolen mail is often a thief’s first step into an even worse crime: identity theft, which is the fastest growing crime in the US today, one that takes its victims hundreds of ugly hours researching damages, resolving billing disputes and restoring credit ratings.
If you are a victim of mail theft, you are urged to first submit a crime notice through the King County Sheriff's Office Online Reporting System and follow that up with a report to the United States Postal Service.
For added protection you should also consider performing the following additional actions:
- Call your bank and have a “watch” put on your account. All major banks and credit unions will have this capability and most will also have the added protection of adding a supplementary password added that must be given for any access to your account.
- Call all your credit card companies and also put a watch on your accounts. If you’re ultra-paranoid, you can get your credit card company to issue you a brand new account # and card which you should be able to get within 3-5 business days.
- Contact the credit reporting agencies to put a “Fraud alert” on your credit file. Calling each one individually is a pain in the back side, however if you file a fraud alert through Transunion, they will automatically notify and process fraud alerts to Experian and Equifax also.
And finally, if you witness any suspicious activity of individual(s) loitering around or tampering with mailboxes or if you observe anyone improperly discarding mail along the road – don’t hesitate to call 911! The few minutes you take to make a report may save a neighbor from years of grief caused from identity theft.