The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office has turned to the public to help put a name to an identity theft suspect. The case came to their attention last November when a person reported unauthorized bank withdrawals.
Detectives determined that someone had stolen the victim’s mail. Mail theft is a federal crime, and increasingly, thieves intercept credit cards, ATM cards, checks and personal information. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that nearly one-half million Americans fell victim to identity theft in 2017 via their mailboxes. Incoming mail isn’t the only target. Outgoing mail – including checks written to pay bills – can also make tempting targets for thieves.
The US Postal Inspection Service takes, investigates and prosecutes mail theft claims. Local police departments may also investigate complaint or work with the USPIS to curb mail theft. Mail theft is becoming increasingly common in California. To avoid falling victim to identity theft involving mail, here are a pair of steps you can take.
Install a locking mailbox. Most residences don’t have locking mailboxes. Anyone can walk up to a mailbox and remove its contents. A locking mailbox allows postal workers to deliver mail and packages, but requires a key to remove items in the box. Since most mail thefts are a crime of opportunity, a locked mailbox may be enough to discourage the casual mail thief. Locking mailboxes may also have a secure space for outgoing mail, but the Post Office recommends delivering vulnerable mail pieces directly to a Post Office.
Sign up for Informed Delivery. The US Postal Service now offers Informed Delivery, which sends subscribers an email containing images of mail that they’ve sorted for delivery to your address. The service also identifies any packages the Post Office intends to deliver to your address that day. Informed Delivery is available in most ZIP codes. You’ll know early in the morning which mail pieces you’ll be receiving and can notify the Post Office immediately if any items are missing from your mailbox. The service does not provide scanned images of bulk mail, magazines or other large format mail pieces. You can sign up for Informed Delivery at the Post Office website.
Ventura Identity Theft Lawyer
When you face identity theft charges, hire an experienced identity theft lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of criminal courtroom defense experience. He takes identity theft cases in Ventura County and throughout Southern California.
Mr. Helfend does not judge his clients based on the charges against them. Instead, he works aggressively to defend your rights in court. Your best defense is truly an experienced defense attorney.
Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County identity theft case.
Photo Credit: Earl, via Flickr.com