Wednesday, January 21, 2015


According to an article in The Herald, published this morning, mail theft was a big problem in Snohomish County especially in the north and east portions of the county over the holiday season. Deputies found mail dumped in the woods, sometimes delivering it themselves.

Mail theft is one way local ID thieves use to gather Social Security, credit card, and other personal information to use in ID theft. According to The Herald, the Sheriff’s Office receives around 3,000 complaints of credit and debit card fraud per year.

Some things you can do to prevent your mail from being stolen include:

  • Use a locked mail box to receive your mail. The box should be made with heavy gauge steel and small mail slots. Some locking units come in four, six, eight or more compartments so that neighbors can get together to protect their mail. These units often have a secure outgoing mail box. You can also find single locking mail boxes.
  • Leave outgoing mail at the post office or a blue postal service mail box. With the typical residential mail box, leaving the flag up when you have outgoing mail is a signal to a mail thief that there is mail to take. This is especially true for checks that you send out or mail with sensitive information.
  • Don’t leave mail overnight whether it is income or outgoing. Pick up your mail as soon as you can.
  • Reduce the number of bills that you receive and bills that you pay via the mail by having vendors email invoices to you and use your bank’s bill pay service to pay your bills. Bill pay is a secure system to pay your bills.
  • When you order your checks from your bank or credit union, pick them up at a local branch. A box full of blank checks is a bonanza for a mail thief.
  • When you are on a trip, have a trusted neighbor or friend pick up your mail while you are gone. You can also have your local post office hold your mail while you are away. And you can easily set this up online at

The Herald:




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