Mail Theft on the Prairie

The EPPD has received a number of mail theft reports in the past couple of months that in some cases have led to financial fraud. In one case, a new credit card had been mailed to a home, stolen from a mailbox, then activated and used.

In other cases, homeowners had placed bills with checks in their mailboxes and put the flag up on their mailboxes, only to find that the mail had been stolen, and the checks had been cashed and cleared by their banks.

The good news is that one suspect has been arrested for mail theft and counterfeit checks for 20 cases in the metro area, including four in Eden Prairie that occurred in late February. The bad news is there are more thieves out there waiting to take his place.

The best way to prevent mail theft is to NEVER put checks in an unsecured mailbox. Instead, bring checks that need mailing to the post office or a secured blue postal box.

Other tips from the postal service include:

  • Pick up your mail promptly after delivery. Don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight. If you’re expecting checks, credit cards or other negotiable items, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail.
  • If you don’t receive a check or other valuable mail you’re expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately.
  • Sign up for the United States Postal Service’s newly launched Informed Delivery program where you can get images of the mail that will be placed in your mailbox each day.
  • If you change your address, immediately notify your post office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail.
  • Don’t send cash in the mail.
  • Tell your post office when you’ll be out of town so they can hold your mail until you return.

And finally, if you see suspicious vehicles in your neighborhood that you suspect may be casing mailboxes, call 911 and give dispatchers as much information as possible about the suspects and vehicles, including license plate numbers.