What to do if your mail is stolen

Over the last two days I’ve been dealing with the issue and consequences of having my mail stolen.  What  a great way to kick off my weekend :(

I came home really late Friday evening and discovered that 2 days worth of mail was stolen.  It was impossible to know everything that was possibly in my mailbox, but I do know for certain that it contained at least one credit card statement, a bank statement and a credit cart statement.

I was fearful of having fraud or identity theft committed against me, so I did some quick research to find out what exactly I should do in this situation.  Here’s the info I have gathered and figured it was useful to share it with others:

  1. Call your bank and have a “watch” put on your account. All major banks and credit unions will have this capability and most will also have the added protection of adding a supplementary password added that must be given for any access to your account.
  2. Call all your credit card companies and also put a watch on your accounts.  If you’re ultra-paranoid, you can get your credit card company to issue you a brand new account # and card which you should be able to get within 3-5 business days.
  3. Contact the credit reporting agencies to put a “Fraud alert” on your credit file.  Calling each one individually is a pain in the ass, and in the process I found out that if you place a fraud alert through Transunion, they will automatically notify and process fraud alerts to Experian and Equifax also.
  4. Update (6/16/2008): As an extra precaution, I’ve also added a Credit Freeze on each credit bureau. This is a higher level of security on your credit file, and basically nothing can get pulled or approved without my specific approval.
  • Transunion: You need to submit a written request including your full name, SSN, address and credit card # and expiration (for the $10 fee).  Address is on the Transunion site.
  • Equifax: Same as Transunion except they also want you to include a copy of a recent utility bill to prove your current address.  See info on their site for mailing address.
  • Experian: Has the easiest way to request a freeze with an online application process.  Unfortunately in my case, something about my info didn’t line up with their records so I had to submit a request in writing anyways.

I also filed a police report through the non-emergency number (206-625-5011) and a separate report with the US Postal Service “Postal Inspector”.   For the latter, you have 2 choices to file a report – you can either call them on the phone at 206-442-6300, or alternatively file an incident report online at the US Postal Inspection Service website.

It was  real eye opening experience to have my mail stolen due to both the invasive nature of it, but also the uneasiness of not knowing exactly what was stolen. Eep.

The good news is that my building has security cameras that has the little f’ers on tape which the police now have.   Since mail theft is a federal crime, I hope those punks get what they deserve.

12 thoughts on “What to do if your mail is stolen

  1. Ian Woo

    Hey Trevin, I was wondering if you had any resolution to this event? Did anything happen with your credit info, and does the “watch” last for a set duration, or when will they stop doing so? I might have lost a credit card statement a day or two ago, but I don’t know what the security risks are.

    p.s. fantastic photos. Do you have a flickr account? (email me)

    Reply
  2. Ian Woo

    Hey Trevin, I was wondering if you had any resolution to this event? Did anything happen with your credit info, and does the “watch” last for a set duration, or when will they stop doing so? I might have lost a credit card statement a day or two ago, but I don’t know what the security risks are.

    p.s. fantastic photos. Do you have a flickr account? (email me)

    Reply
  3. Seadave

    thanks for the info. i suspect the POS mailman put my credit card statement into the mailbox of another POS and now I had charges over in Great Britian.

    Reply
  4. Socalmarko

    Hey some losers I caught breaking into my mailbox at the apts I live in. I called the cops and the talked to them. I was told it wont happen again, I caught them today called the Phoenix police again and they said call the Feds its not their problem. So now I am going to post office tomorrow. The losers have no job and no electricity and havent paid rent in 3 months my manager says. The jerks asked me if I wanted to buy a birth certificate! The police have done nothing thats why they still do it.

    Reply
  5. Socalmarko

    I did what the police said and called the U.S. Post Office for my area. They stopped delivering mail to our apartments. The Apartment manager has to wait until the Inspector comes out before they will deliver our mail. The manager told me its all my fault and I am a trouble maker and my issue is between me and the people who tried to steal my mail. She told me if I call the police one more time or make anymore problems I will be evicted. I told the manager on 2 occassions that the people are stealing mail and I was told to call the police. The police told me to call the Post Office and I did as instructed. I am blogging and letting friends know that are in the apartment industry so its documented. What a nightmare.

    Reply
  6. Anne Marie

    Thanks! I just had my mail stolen (insurance bill, financial statement, and who knows what else). I’m going to go through these steps (and install a mail slot on the garage door!).

    Reply

Leave a Reply