HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (KDVR) — Mailbox theft in some parts of the metro area has residents concerned about identity theft.
Spencer Roesch told the FOX31 Problem Solvers he’s tired of walking to his mailbox and seeing the community mailboxes open and mail strewn across the ground — the work of thieves targeting the area.
“If it looks like it might contain something good, they’re going to go for it,” he said.
Roesch said his neighbors are concerned about identity theft and fraud. They fear the thieves are seeking unemployment payment debit cards, stimulus checks and credit card offers.
“The junk mail and mail you wouldn’t want just gets left alone,” he said.
Roesch told FOX31 he heard one neighbor try to stop a theft with a gun.
“We’ve had a couple of shoot-offs, someone shooting at the guy breaking into the mailboxes,” he said.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service reports more than 2,000 mail theft arrests in 2019 and says there was an increase in crime during the pandemic.
Law enforcement and consumer protection agencies say stolen personal information can be used to conduct scams.
“COVID vaccines, stimulus payments and fake unemployment claims — those are the (scams) we seem to be receiving a large amount of,” said Keylen Villagrana, of the Better Business Bureau Great West Pacific Division.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service says to protect your identity, have the post office hold your mail for pickup when expecting something important, deposit mail close to pick up times, request a signature confirmation and track mail when possible.
As for mail thieves, they could be convicted of destruction of federal property and could spend up to three years in jail and face a fine up to $250,000.