Look out, thieves are stealing mail
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - From gifts and toys, magazines and reading material to extremely personal and private information, the mail systems of America deliver it all.
Investigator Amanda Swanson with Pennington County Sheriff’s Office says recently Pennington County has seen an increase in the theft of personal documents.
“For this year specifically, we’ve seen a really large increase of mail theft in Pennington County, and it’s more so with the mailboxes at the end of the driveway,” says Swanson, “it’s easy to access.”
Criminals, of course, will be looking for cash and gift cards, but a social security number is a grand prize, says Swanson, “and then what they’ll do is open up an account in your name.”
Another means of easy pickings are checks, and “Unfortunately, we see a really high increase in the amount of washed checks,” she says.
Not like you’d wash your hands. Washing checks is a far, far different process.
Swanson explains, “what washed means is your original check that you have, and then you put it in the mail. Well, now that has your name on it and you’re able to go to that person’s bank, and say ‘Hey, I got paid for this,’ and that bank will more than likely give you that money.”
All it takes is opening up someone’s mailbox and shuffling through a few things until you find something of value.
“It’s a very easy thing for them to do, because it’s done at night when everybody’s sleeping. Not everyone checks their mailbox all of the time. So it’s an easy thing for them to go grab, look the mail, ditch what they don’t want and then keep the stuff that they want. That’s when you’re becoming a victim of identity theft or forgery,” warns Swanson.
Pennington county Sherriff’s office recommends keeping mail in a safer location, like a P.O. box, or just checking mailboxes as much as possible. When going out of town, have a friend regularly grab the mail.
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