DENVER (KDVR) — The U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation. That’s more than 160 million locations — and thieves want to get their hands on all that personal information.
Federal investigators are focusing on an increase in mail theft across the Denver metro area and urge victims to report theft to the Postal Inspection Service.
Investigators told the FOX31 Problem Solvers that mail theft increases during the summer months. Areas recently targeted include apartment and condominium complexes in Englewood, Aurora and Denver.
Marci Goldis told the Problem Solvers her mail has been stolen three times.
“The top of the mailbox looked like it had been pried open,” she said.
Postal Inspector Eric Manuel told the Problem Solvers his team monitors data that provides an overview of mail-related crimes in the Denver metro area.
“We have been generally seeing a heightened focus by mail thieves in the southeast Denver area,” he said.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the nation’s oldest law enforcement agency, works with police to investigate mail theft. Manuel said this type of crime is often the first step in a much broader plan to commit identity theft.
“Mail thieves are often looking for your personal financial information because they want to commit financial fraud,” Manuel said.
To protect your information, monitor your mail closely. Manuel advises residents to retrieve mail each day and use free tools available on the Postal Service website.
“You can redirect shipments. You can monitor your daily mail by getting images through a program called Informed Delivery” Manuel said.
It is advised that mail should be put on hold during vacations.
Property management is responsible for maintaining secure mailboxes. Residents should notify their landlord or homeowners association immediately if mail is not properly delivered.
Mail theft penalties can include up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Manuel said using mail to commit bank fraud carries a term of up to 30 years in prison.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service says it is committed to identifying those responsible for mail theft and related activity, and that mail theft should be reported immediately.