Tips to Protect You From Mailbox Identity Theft

POSTED: 1:00 PM Jan 30 2013   UPDATED: 10:47 AM Jan 15 2013
id theft pic

According to the United States Postal Inspection Service an estimated 9.9 million Americans fall victim to identity theft every year.

The Federal Trade Commission said four percent of people cite stolen mail as the source.

In the Northstate, Redding Police say that it is a growing problem.

Over the weekend, three people were arrested for allegedly stealing mail.

According to Redding Police, witnesses spotted the alleged thieves snooping in mailboxes in the area of Star Drive and Eastside Road in Redding.

Corporal Phil Eoff with the Redding Police Department said it seems to be becoming common.

"It happens every few weeks," Eoff said, "It's a fairly common call, especially nowadays; there's a lot of information in the mail and we all get a lot of offers from credit card companies all the time."

Rachel Cardoza lives in the area with her husband and son.

She was surprised when she learned the news.

"I can see everybody out my front window but you know it's freaky a little bit," Cardoza said. "You don't want someone coming up and going in your personal space."

Cardoza said she has never had any problems with mail theft but is proactive with protecting her personal information.

"Anything important we burn, we have a fire place so we take care of it that way," Cardoza said.

Postal inspectors and police say she is on the right track and they have a few tips for others who want to protect their identity:

1. Always review your credit reports annually for no suspicious charges.

2. Shred or destroy unwanted documents that contain personal information.

3. Always try to deposit mail into u-s postal service collection boxes.

4. Avoid leaving mail in your mailbox overnight or on the weekends.

Experts also say to keep an eye on your surroundings and be sure to report anything suspicious.

Cardoza said she's glad she lives in a neighborhood that seems to be on the lookout.

"We all have, you know, kids and things and I think that makes us a lot more watchful," said Cardoza.