Protect Your Mail From Thieves

Mail thieves don't just target seemingly valuable mail, such as checks. In the wrong hands, others items, such as utility bills, credit card or bank statements and credit applications can be used to steal your identity, drain your bank account or finance a spending spree in your name.

Like most crimes, mail theft is a crime of opportunity that can happen to anyone, anywhere and at any time. And like most crimes, a few safety precautions can significantly reduce your risk of becoming a victim of mail theft. Here are some tips from the U.S. Postal Service on how you can make it harder for thieves to steal your mail:

Don't put bills in your mailbox for pickup by your carrier. Instead, drop them off in a blue postal collection box or at your local Post Office.

Never send cash or coins through the mail. Use checks or money orders.
Contact the issuing agency if you don't receive a check, food coupon, credit card or other valuable piece of mail that you were expecting.
Watch the mail when you are expecting a new credit card that you have applied for or a re-issued card that has expired. Immediately contact the issuer if the credit card doesn't arrive.
When ordering new checks, don't have them sent to your home. Make arrangements to pick them up at the bank instead.
Pick up your mail promptly after delivery. Don't leave it in your mailbox overnight. If you won't be home when important items are expected, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail.
Tell your Post Office when you'll be out of town so they can hold your mail until you return.
If you change your address, immediately notify your Post Office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail.
While nothing is foolproof, practicing these safety tips will greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim of mail theft.