Is Your Mail Actually Safe in Your Mailbox? - NBC Southern California

Is Your Mail Actually Safe in Your Mailbox?

Your mailbox could turn you into a victim of identity theft.

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    Is Your Mail Actually Safe in Your Mailbox?
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    We all know the old saying "The check is in the mail."

    In fact, many of us put our paid bills in our home mailbox, so the postman can pick them up. But leaving mail outside your house, could be an opportunity for someone to rip-off your paid bills, and steal your identity.

    It happened to Paulette Light of Los Angeles, who always left her bills sticking out of her home mailbox, for her mailman to pickup and take to the post office. But she stopped doing that last month, when she was looking at her checking account online, and noticed two strange checks written on her account.

    "I did not write the checks, but they had my signature on them," Light says.

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    Police believe someone stole her paid bills from her mailbox, then duplicated her checks on a computer, complete with her account number, and her signature, and then started writing checks from her account.

    "It's been a big hassle. I've been to the bank about five times, navigating the bureaucracy of the bank, and going down to LAPD," Light says.

    The U.S. Postal Service says more than 2,000 people were arrested last year for stealing from mailboxes. But most crooks who do this are never caught and prosecuted.

    So Light has some advice for the rest of us. When you mail anything with checks or personal information in it, take the extra time, and put those items in the nearest U.S. Postal Service mailbox.

    After putting her latest bills in her neighborhood mailbox, Light said, "This is secure. So now, this is where I go for all my bills."