You may think of mailbox break-ins as a distant and unlikely possibility. However, according to research published by NBC News, mail theft has skyrocketed by more than 600% over the last few years.
Though we certainly hope your mail doesn’t fall prey to these unfortunate stats, at ApartmentSearch, we believe it’s best if you’re always prepared. So, we’ve created this quick-and-easy guide on what to do if your mailbox is broken into.
If you’ve been the unfortunate victim of such a crime, kick your response into high gear with this RPM plan. Nope, not “revolutions per minute.”
Report (the Crime)
Immediately notify the building manager or management company so that they can alert your fellow residents and get to work on replacing the mailbox. Also, report the mail theft to the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). If you expected to receive a particular piece of mail — a check, for example, or a package — try to get in touch with the sender right away to alert them of the situation.
Additionally, mailroom break-in or not, always follow the USPIS’s recommendations on how to protect yourself from mail-related crimes such as fraud and identity theft.
Prepare (for Potential Problems)
Mail theft may be a precursor to identity theft since mail can contain so much personal information. Look into an identity theft protection service to be on the safe side. It may feel like a significant expense, but protecting your identity is a worthy investment.
If you wish to avoid any expenses, consider following the Federal Trade Commission’s instructions for placing a fraud alert with one of the three major credit bureaus — it’s free! Additionally, check out your credit card benefits. Many banks and credit card companies now provide identity monitoring services to their cardholders for a marginal fee.
Modify (Your Mail Protocols)
Given your newly heightened awareness of mail theft, think about getting just a little more involved with the entire process:
Learn what time of day your mail usually arrives, and try your best to pick it up promptly, particularly if you’re expecting a tax refund, W-2, or check. Don’t let it pile up!
Speak with other tenants about the issue. Maybe their mail was also stolen — or has been stolen in the past — and you can all share increased alertness around the apartment mailboxes.
Lastly, get to know your postal carrier, who can give you more info on their schedule so that you can time your mail pick-up and drop-offs accordingly.
Take (Additional Steps)
Theft of any sort is an aggravating, even angering, violation of our rights to live lives free of such criminal activity. If you are dissatisfied with the response to this crime for whatever reason, there are a few other steps you can take:
- Go green by requesting emailed bills, invoices, and paychecks.
- Look into a PO Box if you’re especially concerned about such theft happening again.
- Make sure you formally change your address after every move, so your future mail follows you to your new home.
Mail Security: Signed, Sealed, and Delivered
Is your apartment’s management company taking mailbox theft lightly? Don’t risk it! Find an alternative spot to send your mail to until you move out. And when your lease ends, look for gated apartments that prioritize your and your mail’s security with ApartmentSearch.