In recent months, a number of thefts from insecure post boxes have been reported. Post containing personal and financial information has been stolen, and documents used to apply for credit cards or loans.
Because the post is intercepted fraudulently, victims often don’t realise they have been targeted. Fraudsters then apply for credit cards and loans in their names, and it can be many weeks before the crime is discovered.
Derbyshire Constabulary’s Fraud and Protect officer, Tammy Barnes, said: “In recent months, we have seen a number of thefts from letter boxes across the county. While the piles of junk mail may not be of interest to criminals, bank details certainly would be. Recently one of our officers visited a house with an external post box and was able to fit his hand inside and remove the mail. One of the letters was a personal medical record. Our advice to homeowners who have an external post box is to check if they are able to remove mail from inside and if so, give some consideration to making some changes. If you can do it then so can they!”
Officers are proactively working on several lines of enquiry into the thefts, but there are measures that can be taken to make your post box more secure.
- Make sure your box is made of a robust material and is tamper-proof. It should have a secure locking mechanism, ideally with a coded security key.
- The box should also be fitted with a strong internal restrictor, which stops items being removed from the slot.
- Keep a look out if you are expecting a new bank card, or bank statement.
- Don’t leave mail uncollected for long periods of time; ideally check your post box every day.