SACRAMENTO - The United States Postal Service has seen an uptick in mail-related thefts recently, leaving residents concerned for the security of their postage, as well as their identities.
A man classified as a serial mail thief was arrested in Foresthill, Calif. on April 2, after allegedly stealing mail from over 20 homes across Placer County, according to Unites States Postal Service agents.
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In Amador County, a postal employee from Ione was arrested after being accused of stealing mail addressed to veterans that contained prescription medications.
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But outside of refusing to have mail or packages sent to your residence and installing a mailbox with lock, how do you protect against pilferers of the post, such as these?
The Unites States Post Office assembled the following seven tips to help safeguard against thieves:
1. Never send cash or coins in the mail. Use checks or money orders.
2. Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery, especially if you're expecting checks, credit cards, or other negotiable items. If you won't be home when the items are expected, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail.
3. Have your local post office hold your mail while you're on vacation, or absent from your home for a long period of time.
4. If you don't receive a check or other valuable mail you're expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately.
5. If you change your address, immediately notify your post office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail.
6. Always deposit your mail in a mail slot at your local post office, or hand it to your letter carrier.
7. Consider starting a neighborhood watch program. By exchanging work and vacation schedules with trusted friends and neighbors, you can watch each other's mailboxes (as well as homes).
If you observe a mail thief at work, call the local police immediately, and then call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455.
If you believe your mail was stolen, report it immediately to your local postmaster or nearest Postal Inspector. You'll be asked to file a formal complaint using PS Form 2016, Mail Theft and Vandalism Complaint.
By analyzing information collected from the form, Postal Inspectors may determine whether your problem is isolated or part of a larger mail theft problem in your neighborhood--and it may help Postal Inspectors locate and apprehend the thieves.